Fendi Fall/Winter 2020 Men’s. Milan, Italy.
“I never like to say never, and I never like to say always. I like things in between,” creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi told me in her green room behind the Fendi showroom, where she held court after yesterday’s Fendi FW20 Menswear Presentation with her friend Luca Guadagnino and her daughter (and fellow designer) Delfina Delettrez.
In a show billed as “an exercise in Fendi-fled classicism,” Mrs. Fendi had just tried something new: being basic. And as a result, the world was greeted with man purses made of calf-skin dust bags, crop-top blazers, yellow high-tops, monogrammed monster truck boots, as well as rigs mounted with UV lights descending from the ceiling to illuminate embroidered photo-chromatic parkas made in collaboration with the Japanese brand Anrealage.
However, despite its baroqueness, the beauty of Fendi is often in the details: the places where you find that the house’s lavish gestures are so grand that they break like waves into tinier, and somehow even more lavish, gestures. Take for example the aforementioned dust bag, which in one look came with a bag charm in the form of a smaller satchel resembling a jewelry pouch. When you enter the terrain where bags can have bags, and those bags can be very expensive versions of the cheap bags that are designed to protect expensive bags, you’ve arrived at the hallucinatory nirvana of trying to think too hard about a Fendi show.
And yet the most important — or mind-bending — detail of Fendi FW20 arrived in the form of a tailoring motif: card-holders stitched into the outside of blazers and coats. The garments eluded to the idea that the models in the show may or may not be gigantic accessories themselves, walking human card-cases who, of course, were also holding their own bags.
Audience on the show
“Everybody's always talking about ‘Is streetwear dead?’ But the day you try a pair of sneakers, it is very difficult to go back. Nobody is going to get rid of the practicality of having a big nylon parka that is so light and waterproof. Nobody’s going to go back to a heavy coat. I think people have real lives, and that's why I think about practicality and functionality. You can have a suit today, but it can’t be too strict and it can’t be a kind of uniform. So in this collection, I was thinking about the concept of doing a basic men’s wardrobe, starting from gray flannel to camel to suits. And then I said to myself, ‘What is the most basic thing at Fendi? Well, the packaging.’ So that’s where the idea of the accessories came from." - Silvia Fendi, creative director of Fendi
“The collection started super classic, and it went somewhere perverse. A navy double-breasted blazer with like a gray flannel trouser with a cream roll neck, cable neck, and a black briefcase. That is so normal, but, then the trousers are actually a skirt. And then you have these wallet details on the outside of the jacket, with cardholders that are subverting the inside and the outside. We ended up doing a lot of corduroy, but in suede, which feels a bit 70s, which we always love."- Julian Ganio, stylist and Fendi menswear consultant
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No Unboxing Necessary
Another delightful play of packaging versus garments themselves is this camel coat lined with details that look like the ribbons of a classic yellow Fendi box.
Suited and Booted
Look 23’s off-road pimp boots are a gift that keep on giving. It’s not just mustard suit, or the monogrammed tractor sole that makes this bad boy a joy, but rather the tan nubuck-looking upper that makes the boot look like a Timberland with a cocaine problem.
From Crop Top to Corduroy
Behold, one of the card-case adorned pieces of outerwear in question. But the quiet stars of this look are the cashmere snood and the corduroy beanie, both highly wearable pieces that deliver on the promise of a Fendified baroque-basic.