Renewing its link with the Eternal City, Fendi staged its The Dawn of Romanity extravaganza in the heart of ancient Rome. With the ruins of Palatine Hill forming a monumental backdrop, the show featured 54 silhouettes (paying homage to the late Karl Lagerfeld’s 54-year tenure at the house), inspired by Lagerfeld’s archive sketches handpicked by Silvia Venturini Fendi.
Opening the show was a white suit in felted-wool with bishop sleeves paired with bootleg trousers, which exuded a 1970s flair – perhaps meant to recall Lagerfeld’s early years when he began to make his mark.
But it’s the gazar blouse with marble print that hints at the collection’s major highlight.
Inspired by the ancient splendours of rome, Fendi celebrates the beauty of marble, mosaic and terracotta by conjuring up patterns of crystalline veins as well as an otherworldly palette of mineral and earth tones spiked with gold, as well as shades of citrine, jade, rose quartz and chalcedony. Elsewhere, embroidered beads and spikes inject an edgy vibe to the marble print on a black coat.
Maria Grazia Chiuri unveiled a collection dominated by the colour black, but opened her show with the sole white look — a dress asking: “Are Clothes Modern?”
Inspired by this question from American-Austrian architect Bernard Rudofsky which formed the basis of a 1944 MoMA exhibition that he curated, Chiuri goes back to the very foundation of clothes, and explores its relationship with comfort and convention, especially for women. By going monochrome, she focused the spotlight on all the other aspects of her garments — impeccable construction, beautiful texture and exquisite detail, to enchanting effect.
One of the ateliers Chiuri collaborated with is the inimitable feather and flower specialist Lemarié, whose savoir faire elevated these looks. feathers were reworked, recut, reshaped and sculpted to create flowers and vines. For another number, feathers were burnt and curled by hand to produce a puffed-up, fluffy effect. Another rendition used steamed feathers to achieve an incredible, organic shape.
Penny Slinger, the feminist surrealist artist who conceptualised the show’s scenography, also lent her influence to this intriguing finale featuring Dior’s headquarters at 30 Avenue Montaigne, the venue of this show. Brimming with monumental significance, the historic building is where every artistic director works closely with the ateliers, and is currently undergoing renovation. “In my earlier career I worked quite a lot with dollhouses,” Slinger recalls. “Because we were doing this homage to this place, to this building, I came up with a vision of this wearable dollhouse, all gold. This feminine force is now going to carry that energy of this place.”
Taking its cues from the American West, Atelier Versace presents an audacious approach to its new couture collection, with a masterful mix inspired by Pop Art and Fauvism, presented at a private trunk show.
The sculptural skirt below is inspired by the silhouette of a cowboy hat. It is worn over a bustier mini dress made by weaving leather by hand, employing the soutache technique (also known as the Russian braid), elevated with Swarovski crystals.
With rows of hand-made silk fringe tracing its silhouette, this asymmetric lace macramé dress glitters with hand-embroidered iridescent Swarovski crystals.
Coming in the vibrant hues inspired by Fauvism, this ball gown below effortlessly transforms into a cocktail-ready number with matching leggings, simply by detaching the voluminous skirt.
For men, the brand offers up jackets in a punchy mix of colour and print, such as this version embellished with elaborate crystal embroidery featuring Versace’s iconic chains and baroque patterns.