At the conclusion of Fendi’s Spring Summer 2020 show, The Fifth Dimension’s ‘Age of Aquarius’ played. The 1969 classic, originally written for the musical Hair, could not have surmised the show better; the catchy, sixities melody so apt of the time. For the first Spring / Summer collection without the deft touch of Fendi’s long-standing patriarch Karl Lagerfeld, Silvia Venturini Fendi revisited the era in which Lagerfeld first arrived at the House (he began his tenure in 1967), perhaps an homage to his remarkable 54-year service at Fendi. As girls streamed down the runway with the swing of the sixties and free-spirit of the seventies, the collection of all a sudden felt very introspective; an ode to not only where it came from but what it stands for today.
A distinctly seventies mood but one that was also inspired by summer, classic tropes of the era were explored through Fendi’s Italianate lens with modern, optimistic and sunny expression. It did not feel dated nor daggy, rather, bright and buoyant and implicitly youthful. Perhaps it was the socks and block-heeled sandals, or Sam McKnight’s beatnik, punkish double buns and messy ponies, but it definitely felt young, wild and free. A joyous collection which left show-goers (all decked in some manifestation of the brand’s logo insignia) smiling. “I want it all!” exclaimed one zealous attendee. Indeed, it felt like that; each piece possessing mass commercial appeal while simultaneously feeling very “fashion”; you could easily unpack the heavily layered looks and see a gauzy gingham shirt on fashion’s elite or the girl-next-door.
Referencing the past obviously relies heavily on the classics, but the collection, particularly the accessories, felt very new. Bag size was inflated – blown up to overnighter status in multi-coloured suede or spliced floral, while the Baguette had a suitably retro makeover sporting all-new fancy fringing. Footwear took a vintage turn but with a zingy twist; chunky geometric block heels in all colours of the rainbow the star.
But overall, texture, palette and print was rooted in retro-ism, albeit a cheery version. There was perforated suede trenches and Terry-towelling clutches, seventies floral and blouson sequins, syrupy browns, reds and rust – even all-out mustard with Bella Hadid indulging an entire monochrome mustard moment. Complex and deeply nuanced collection, it didn’t subscribe to stereotype, rather reimagined it.
Duvet-dressing was also strong, as Kaia Gerber and co. got under the Fendi covers in powdery quilting reminiscent of the local gelato store. A nostalgic collection, it made you want to go back to the good ol’ days, but wearing new season Fendi, of course.
As Silvia Venturini Fendi took her bow, the soundtrack shifted. ‘Let the Sunshine’ – the second part of The Fifth Dimension’s famous medley – blared. There was wild applause; a feeling of optimism and joy and most importantly, hope. A new, but in fact very old era, Fendi’s new matriarch most definitely brought the sunshine for the season ahead. Time to bask in it.