POSTED BY HDFASHION / February 12TH 2024

Fendi Couture SS24: Artisan perfection hidden behind minimalism and futurism

Talking about the new couture collection, Kim Jones, Fendi’s artistic director of couture and womenswear, recalls Karl Lagerfeld's “futurism“ and explains the couture idea: "In the collection, there is a humanity at the heart of this future; there's the body, the silhouette within the silhouette, the person and the handwork of the couture. The collection is about structure and decoration, where the two become indivisible. I wanted an idea of precision and emotion at once.” It is difficult to recall any special futurism in Karl Lagerfeld’s work, what rather comes to mind is the splendor, the costume-like nature of his Fendi couture collections, from which Kim Jones has digressed as much as possible. But if Mr. Jones is talking about futurism, the question is, what kind of futurism does he mean — the futurism of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey or the futurism of Roger Vadim's Barbarella? Looking at the straight white silk gazar dresses made with a special emphasis on geometry, we tend to think that this is 2001: A Space Odyssey after all. But looking at the feather-like, all-over fringe that appears in other looks reminding one of a new kind of pelt, as well as the silver embroidered look that consisted of a skirt that looked like fish scales, separate transparent sleeves fixed above the elbow, and a silver ribbon cunningly knotted Shibari-style barely cover the breasts, it was impossible not to think of Barbarella.

That said, the first thing that came to mind upon viewing the collection was not so much futurism, but “minimalism” — the slicked-back hair and clean faces of the models in a straight black strapless dress or a black skirt and Shibari top, – and not just any minimalism but the one of the golden era of the early 90s, that of Miucca Prada or Calvin Klein. Kim Jones does not sustain this austerity to the end and at some point, the flying organza appears, that virtually inevitable couture cliche, but in his rendering it does look like a conventional beauty. Nonetheless, the collection’s key silhouette, called by Mr. Jones Scatola, which means a box, looks fresh, elegant, and quite modern. This silhouette gets a lot of help from silk gazar, Balenciaga's favourite fabric and a true couture medium.

The structure and decoration in this collection were truly connected and supported each other. The skirts, decorated by embroidery with sequins resembling the plumage of birds of paradise, were balanced by the strength and severity of the cashmere jackets. And silver shoes covered with short and stiff thorns and the really futuristic glasses (we have already featured them) tempered the molded high-necked armor-like crocodile coat of impeccable shape and impeccable quality. Overall, Kim Jones avoided extra volume — everything, from the most delicate vicuña knitwear to the sleek crocodile outwear, fit like a glove, demonstrating the perfect cut and perfection of the tailors' work.

The Fendi Couture SS24 had virtually no fur that Karl Lagerfeld so loved to use for couture — it was replaced by the fringe and tassels imitating the pelt. And in general, the exceptional level of handicraft of all the Fendi craftsmen — from embroiderers to tailors and from leather workers to dressmakers — was embedded in that illusory simplicity of the silhouette, which hides the impeccable, purely couture complexity of the work. This, and not so much the costume splendor, is the true nature of couture, conveyed by Kim Jones with such fervor, and its true humanism. And now, having grown out of the multilayering of his first collections, he has reached a certain plateau in his excellence, after which, hopefully, new heights will follow.

Text: Elena Stafyeva