Silvia Venturini Fendi’s spring 2019 men’s collection is bound by the devil in the detail and a playful sense of humour
Just two seasons and a summer cycle ago, the Fendi man would find himself in a pair of straight-leg trousers, a tie worn haphazardly (albeit stylishly) and shod in smart leather sandals. In this short amount of time, the Fendi exchange, known to run the spectrum of elegant, dapper or fun, has officially started banking the currency of cool as of today. There certainly was a build up: that logomania statement this year via a rebooted FF logo on streetwise silhouettes, their recent party at underground club Arkham — elusively located beneath a park in Shanghai — featuring rising Chinese hip-hop acts and, the release of a rap song titled ‘Fendiman’ by Jackson Wang to rival the likes of A$AP’s ‘Raf’ and Lil Pump’s ‘Gucci Gang’. Though, it truly culminated in today’s show.
As New Order’s ‘Blue Monday 88’ provided the vibey starting notes, we note that Fendi’s usual runway arrangement (ascending seats filled with showgoers below, standing room packed like sardines above) felt more like concert grounds than usual, what with the neon lights spelling ‘Fiend’ hanging atop the cavernous mouth of the runway. Fiend, as in wicked (read: cool) but also an anagram for Fendi, conceived by Silvia Venturini’s son-in-law and artist Nico Vascellari as the current season’s collaborator. This spawned quite a few winning pieces in the collection. Such as, camp-collar shirts and a black suit paired with socks plus sandals; the combo given an impish flair with the anagram embroidered as an all-over pattern, interspersed with yet another witty wordplay, ‘Amor’ and ‘Roma’, from Vascellari. It also adorned bucket hats, with such a streetwise leaning in sync with the garments’ notably less streamlined fit. The fiendish theme reared its head too in actual illustrations of demons, peeking out from under layers of a transluscent shirt and a mesh vest, which brings us to the bedrock of the collection: duality. Lightness and darkness in harmony.
Venturini made sure this was palpable in the sheerness of many a garment like the aforementioned look, and also in a series of check anoraks, blazers, blousons and trousers that up close, would show skin very discreetly should nothing be layered under. The contrasting heft of wool trousers paired below for instance, then lent darkness to the light.
While yet another of Vascellari’s humourous input in SS19 — a series of illustrated playing cards featuring Venturini as queen and Karl Lagerfeld as the ‘Jokarl’ amongst others — is too good not to spotlight, our choice pick is one double-collared red and black anorak sporting the FF logo all over. Purely for the fact that it’s sheen and sturdiness is telling of a material the likes of leather, but it is in fact cut from paper — a nod to the house’s forte in fabrication. And lastly, its colourway and silhouette by our books, a fine example of the Fendi man’s evolving sensibilities.
All coverage from Milan Men’s Fashion Week spring/summer 2019.
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