Fendi pulls out all the models

Plus, other shows reviewed. (From left to right: Fendi, Proenza Schouler, Collina Strada.)
Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

Fendi gave New York a good Friday night-Saturday morning, with police barricades outside the seedy former Hammerstein ballroom on West 34th Street, models and celebrities inside, and an after -party in Indochina. The show itself was the work of two designers, Fendi creative director Kim Jones and Marc Jacobs, who are also friends. When Jacobs held the top designer position at Louis Vuitton, Jones designed his men’s line for a while.

Jacobs, in a backstage jam-packed with supers – Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, who is the “face” of Fendi and appeared for the finale wearing Tiffany blue satin – shouted that he had wondered: “What is Karl doing?” The question was worth asking, because Karl Lagerfeld, who designed Fendi from 1965 to 2019, had a knack for keeping things modern, or at least fun and interesting. Despite the fact that the show was designed around the 25th anniversary of Fendi’s Baguette – the bag that marked the start of the importance of accessories for fashion companies – and despite Jones’ own nod to the early years of sex and the citywhich helped popularize the Baguette, it was not a nostalgic trip.

“I was thinking about New York, downtown and downtown, and I was always obsessed with the Warhol concept of that,” Jones said. “So Marc Jacobs is the king of downtown.” He stopped as Amber Valletta leaned in for a hug and laughed. “And the girlfriends are there.”

Photo: Getty Images

Today, everyone mixes sportswear and high fashion – the lightweight utility parka with a form-fitting metallic beaded skirt – but the difference last night was the precise, down-to-earth focus on sex appeal. Responsible for the first part of the show, Jones removed the bulk from bombers and blazers, a welcome change from the oversized trend that still strangely captivates some designers. His shoulders looked natural, his layers unforced as he mixed semi-sheer briefs in shades of pale pink and acid yellow with boyish jackets, a sheer fur bomber with leather shorts. Versions of the Wand, mini charms dangling from bags and knitted beanies with slouchy pouches on the front of a top, adorned most looks.

Photo: Getty Images

Another mark of the collection’s relevance is that the majority of the looks were made up of separate pieces, with variations of a new Fendi clog. For Jacobs’ part – who started with a model in a cropped black “Fendiroma” t-shirt and a silver sequined skirt hemmed with a turquoise chiffon ruffle – most of the long denim skirts and jackets look raw and hand-finished were a riff on recent styles he’s done for his own label. Ditto a sumptuous bathrobe coat which has transformed its graphic monogram into a Fendi logo.

The fittings were all done in Rome, with the designers largely working together, and somehow, despite the obvious complexities of a project of this scale, a sense of spontaneity – the magnet – is appeared. Certainly a show in the creamy vastness of the Hammerstein was a major marketing vehicle for LVMH, which owns the Fendi and Jacobs label, as well as Tiffany, which provided stones for at least one Baguette and of course, the familiar color. of Evangelist Cloak. As Jacobs said of the extravaganza when greeting Sidney Toledano, the fashion group’s managing director at LVMH, “It was truly wonderful. Lot of energy. Lots of good accessories. Money in the bank.”

Most designers, with or without Fendi’s resources, begin work on a new collection by assessing the landscape. Which is incredibly difficult right now, because there’s almost nothing to see on the streets. Sneakers, custom jeans, bra tops, drab vintage layers, leggings galore. The Jewish Museum has a wonderful exhibition, New York 1962-1964, with advances in art, film, fashion and interior design, which highlights this difficulty. Among her fashion designs are Evelyn Jablow’s 1964 “Folding Dress for Wearable Society” – a pleated accordion mini dress – and Bonnie Cashin’s black leather and wool jumpsuit in 1963. The Cashin piece has l looked remarkably “today”, with its sporty leather upper half, but more accurately, it was an original. Women’s pants were still a novelty. Like the paintings of Rauschenberg or the street events of Fluxus or the underground film of Jack Smith fiery creatures, Cashin’s design was a response to the new freedoms of that time.

Photo: Courtesy of Partow

This function of fashion has not changed, although it may be more difficult to achieve, given the sheer volume of things competing with fashion and the general shift away from true design towards entertainment. . When the Spring 2023 runways opened in New York, a number of designers had decent collections, but appeared to be struggling. Nellie Partow is known for her tailoring and elegant, thoughtful pieces, but this season she came up with the idea of ​​a nomadic woman living out of a small suitcase – complete with a white summer dress that wouldn’t wrinkle, a skirt drawstring, fine knits in cheerful citrus tones. But portable life is already well established and Partow has not developed it enough.

Collina Strada.
Photo: Getty Images

In a Brooklyn public garden, Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada showcased many of her funky floral prints and jeans, this time adding pieces pulled from historic fashions – basket skirts and corsets, for example. But, again, this trick has already been played many times by designers, and it was not clear why it was important to make these shapes now.

Proenza Schouler.
Photo: Getty Images

After substantial collections over the past year or so, Proenza Schouler generally looked weak. The designers, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, said they wanted to bring more sexiness to the clothes, primarily by embracing Hernandez’s Cuban roots. Hence the flared trousers and the Flamenco ruffles, including the knit dresses with wide flared sleeves. But while many knits and soft cuts in cotton terry tweed seemed timely – luxurious and easy to wear – certain details and materials (for example, a black coat worn by Shalom Harlow with gold tassels) came closer to the types of merchandise you see in the windows of 1930s Western wholesale establishments. And padded platform shoes with chunky soles seemed equally mundane.

The theory.
Photo: Courtesy of Theory

In contrast, Jeffrey Kalinsky’s refreshed Theory line has completely served its purpose. The designs, in neutral tones with hints of carnation pink and iris blue, were simple, adaptable and well cut. In short, what you expect from Theory.

Photo: Courtesy of FFORME

Probably one of the best collections in New York I think will be a new line called Fforme. Designed by Paul Helbers, who brings a whole pedigree – Martin Margiela, menswear for Jacobs at Vuitton and The Row – Fforme is the result of more than a year of development with his partner, Laura Vazquez, who is Managing Director, and Nina Khosla, who is the main investor. They came up with a concise fall collection, which is already online, and a spring group. I happened to arrive early for my appointment, at a gallery in Chelsea, and there was no one there. No matter. The 17 fall looks posted on hanging forms told me everything. You could see the quality of the cut, the shape and the sense of movement of the clothes in relation to the body. It’s a rare thing.

Helbers only used six different fabrics, including double-faced organic wool (mixed with a bit of recycled nylon) and washed cashmere to feel like the finest cotton. You could tell he was aware of the history of tailoring in its details – the set of sleeves, the drape of a black T-shirt – and the ease of sportswear.

Fforme isn’t basic and it’s certainly pricey (from $500 for t-shirts to $7,500 for coats), but Helbers has found something that feels deeply right for this era. Despite the clean lines and sense of formality, Fforme is not bespoke. Many female designers who do couture are already finding it a tough sell in the post-pandemic era – the structure seems too foreign – and the very gifted Helbers have clearly felt this and found a different path.

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