Text by Lindsey Kesel
Images Courtesy of FENDI
Faithful to the storied FENDI legacy, the house’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection is a cunning display of calculated creativity that leaves room for imagination to play. At the core of each design is an homage to the beauty and boldness, softness and strength, of the fairer sex.
“What is particularly interesting to me about FENDI is exploring the notion of functional utility alongside femininity—because the Fendi women are strong women with full, busy lives,” says Kim Jones, Artistic Director of Couture and Womenswear for FENDI.
For the seasons of renewal and relaxation, Jones develops the codes established during his tenure at the brand, while drawing upon FENDI’s history and evolving its distinct language for now. Karl Lagerfeld’s work, from 1996 to 2002, offers the starting point for a collection that appears distinctly contemporary with hints of transitional angst.
During his epic reign as FENDI’s creative director over 54 years, Lagerfeld catapulted the modest family fur and leather atelier into a global dynasty. He is credited with creating the double “F” logo—an acronym for “fun furs” known as the inverted Zucca—that cameos throughout the collection.
“It’s about continuity,” says Jones. “I am interested in looking at things that Karl has done, and seeing how we can develop them, both visually and technically.”
The new looks loosely revolve around the millennial shift, highlighting the collision between Y2K minimalism and pop-infused eclecticism. A floral print drawn from the FENDI archives and a refined sans-serif logo introduced in 2000 anchor the collection in the past, but are reimagined for this moment in time.
Slouching cuts and elongated racerback silhouettes are imbued with insouciance. A youthful palette of earthy neutrals is interrupted by bold pops of vibrant watermelon pink, cornflower blue, and lime green.
Organic textures—cashmere and fur, shearling and leather—materialize through FENDI’s unparalleled savoir faire, now lighter than ever before, and appear layered with technical fabrics. Floating organza, or nylon jersey embellished with lacquered embroidery, offer new dimension to ethereality: at once sporty and delicate, effortless yet refined.
That wide kimono-style sash known as the obi belt, a Kim Jones signature borrowed from Autumn/Winter 2022 FENDI Couture, celebrates form and offers feminine structure.
The Spring/Summer handbag array is realized with the same spirit of duality: high-shine leathers alongside clean canvas and bold shades printed across natural hues, sometimes chained together, sometimes a pair simply clutched in one hand.
A Peekaboo bag is sliced in half to reveal its mechanisms. Elsewhere, a steel “F” falls through the body of a bag to become its handle.
“At FENDI, everything comes from the conversation around the double ‘F’ which makes us see things in couples,” reflects Silvia Venturini Fendi, Artistic Director of Accessories and Menswear. “Even the bags become part of a family: big and small.”
In the Fendi Peekaboo Cut, the trademark trapezoid is reimagined with a vintage palladium-finish bar handle, twist lock, and O’Lock chain strap. “I am constantly thinking about practicality as well as luxury,” says Jones. “Adding heavy hardware to something very soft both gives it real functionality and makes it interesting.”
The inverted “F” of the FENDI First bag appears as an illusory cantilever across footwear—from patent leather platform boot to lambskin sandal to nappa leather slide—in tribute to the house’s instinctive alignment of form and function.
The inclusion of fine jewelry amplifies the collection’s ability to enchant, showcasing stunning pieces that also reflect the ambient themes of tenacity and tenderness. “We are working with the rigid and the soft,” notes Delfina Delettrez Fendi, daughter of Silvia and designer of the first haute joaillerie line for the house in 2022. “The logo almost disappears into functional architecture suspending each stone.”
Throughout the Spring/Summer 2023 Womenswear collection, each new design parallels the sublimity of the female spirit and offers the wearer both artwork and canvas. As bewitching as ever, FENDI empowers even the shrinking violets with dauntless expressivity.
Shop the Spring/Summer 2023 Collection in Fendi boutiques and through client services. Visit their Honolulu locations at Ala Moana Center and Royal Hawaiian Center.