Fendi takes ancient Rome into space for its SS22 couture show
Isn’t it funny how sci-fi movies always have a class-civ twist? In distant galaxies, remnants of an ancient past often lend themselves to fantasies of distant futures, the most tangible connections being garments that typically resemble the classic drapery of togas worn by past Greek emperors and gods. Watching star wars Where Dunes, there are times when it often feels like they could be set at either 3000 BC or 3000 AD; the two being far enough apart to elicit a sense of timelessness. Kim Jones got into science fiction this Christmas, reading the two books the aforementioned films are based on and thinking about the past, present and future – and how it relates to time and space. space (he also saw the northern lights on a trip to Iceland last month; go figure). As a result, her third couture show for Fendi, presented yesterday at the Palais Brongniart, was titled “Céleste Rome” – a kind of palimpsest of the old and the space age; Spartacus made science fiction. In a word, majestic Roman empresses descending on earth for the first time; spaceships flying over the weathered columns of the Colosseum; couture as an affirmation of clothes made to cherish forever, in eternity.
The show took place in the Dark Room, with the architecture of Fendi’s HQ, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, fragmented and exploded into glowing lights, almost like a constellation of stars. “When you walk down the street in Rome, you’re constantly going back and forth in time,” Kim explained during a preview. “The place where we work looks very modern, but you pass monuments along the way. There is a total timelessness in the city: a historical vein that runs through it, but also a movement that projects forward. As the show began, luminous plumes of white smoke writhed around the sliding doors resembling spaceships. From them emerged an army of empresses, high priestesses and female warriors with embroidered second skins and diamond-studded alien faces.
Although this is Kim’s third couture collection for Fendi, it’s the first to be shown in Paris in front of an actual audience (many of whom arrived in the Maison’s equivalent of a team football shirt : furs, monograms and more Fendi baguettes than you could count). It made it possible to really see the immense amount of work that goes into these evening-centric garments, such as the fur capes sheared three-dimensionally to echo the outlines of the fountains – then hand-painted with depictions in clear – Obscure statues outside Fendi HQ. Elsewhere, there were ghostly shadows of opulent fabrics, photographed and distorted, which were printed on duchess silk and organza and illuminated with marbled mother-of-pearl. Stripes of bugle beads – smoother and more spatial than other beads – adorned the edges of the jedi curtains, which still had a sharp severity. Satins and muslins in purple, the expensively dyed color once reserved for emperors under ancient sumptuary laws, were matched with the deepest red.
If Rome is about monumental architecture of the earliest variety, tailoring is about the architecture of clothing – that’s why there were exposed plinths to remember the hands that made them. Long trains coming out of micro-long robes looked like the kind of ecclesiastical robes of cardinals, but with that subversive edge of bare legs and pointed jewelry from Delfina Delettrez. Rome is a city of both saints and sinners, after all, and while this collection is about the past and the future, the reality of the present is that women want to feel sexy again – Kim said the shorter lengths were the most sought after. by Fendi’s couture customers.
Ultimately, this collection was about the visual language of power – a celebration of the imperial majesty of women draped in finery to face their uncertain future. The world is changing rapidly, and while some billionaires may opt for self-contained, utilitarian “refuge villas” on New Zealand’s North Island to weather the apocalypse, it’s perfectly acceptable for others to want to spend their days in Paris, buying a Unique robes and Persian lamb armor to get through whatever inhospitable circumstances the end times will bring. Or, maybe they will ride this space traveler in search of another planet. They’ll still need something to wear there, won’t they?
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All images courtesy of Fendi.