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Kim Jones Debuts His Stunning First Couture Collection for Fendi


Kim Jones Debuts His Stunning First Couture Collection for Fendi

Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell made appearances.

Kim Jones presented his first haute couture collection for Fendi in his new role of artistic director of womenswear for the Rome-based brand—and it was a true fashion spectacle. Original supermodels Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Christy Turlington walked alongside new supers Bella Hadid and Adwoa Aboah, as well as Farida Khelfa and Lila Grace Moss (daughter of Kate), while Demi Moore wore the first look out. But the show wasn’t about creating social media buzz so much as exhibiting the quietly beautiful creations Jones offered for his debut.

In a time when fashion conversations have swung between the poles of the triumph of athleisure and Zoom outfits to mesmerizing socially distant runway videos, this collection was a stunning reminder of the emotional impact truly beautiful clothes can have. Each model walked out slowly to a Max Richter soundtrack amid glass boxes and found her way to her own—surely a nod to the isolation we are still experiencing at the beginning of 2021. But sheer pearl lattice gowns, a dress that melds menswear tailoring and crystal wildflowers, and feminine suiting served as pure optimism.

Kate and Lila Grace Moss

The collection notes began with a quote from Virginia Woolf, whose former cottage is just down the street from Jones’s British country home where he did much of the conceptualizing and designing leading up to the show. “Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.” When so many are questioning the relevance of fashion now, Jones reminded us of its impact when done well. The designer looked in part to the British sensibility of the Bloomsbury Group, of which Woolf served as one of its most famous members, as well as Woolf’s sister Vanessa Bell’s art and interiors, Italian sculpture, and Fendi’s archives to draw inspiration for the exquisite collection.

Adwoa Aboah at Fendi Couture Spring 21

“I like how this family of people—and particularly these two pioneering sisters—moved things forward,” Jones said. “I admire the way that they lived their lives, the freedom that they created for themselves and the art that they left behind for the world.”

Some of Woolf’s words were used quite literally. Quotes from her novel Orlando are written directly onto the pieces in the form of metal-bound book clutches, and lines from the text are inscribed into mother-of-pearl minaudières or leather boots. Throughout the show, letters written between Woolf and British author Vita Sackville-West (whose love affair with Woolf inspired the book) were read aloud by friends of the brand. Alongside the show stood an exhibition of their books and ephemera, curated by Sammy Jay of Peter Harrington Rare Books.

Christy Turlington

Jones is three years into his tenure as the head of Dior menswear—with a schedule that doubtlessly mirrors that of his predecessor at Fendi, the late Karl Lagerfeld, who was known to helm multiple fashion houses concurrently. Prior to that, Jones held the position of director of menswear at Louis Vuitton for seven years, where he melded streetwear with high fashion to dizzying success for the Parisian label. The designer traveled often as a child, spending time mainly in England, London and Sussex, and various countries in Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Botswana), travels that informed his inspirations as a designer. He looked closer to home for his first Fendi couture collection, however, namely the Charleston farmhouse—the Sussex home of the Bloomsbury set, located only a short distance from where Jones spent much of his childhood.

For someone who has spent so many years designing menswear, Jones debuted a collection that serves as a love letter to women, including historical creatives of note, and to the house and women of Fendi, including Silvia Fendi, the sole Fendi sister still working within the brand. “It is in its third generation with a Fendi at its helm, and I am guest starring while bringing in the fourth,” he said. “Here, I am surrounded by strong, powerful women who I love and respect, and want to bring their energy into what I do.”

Bella Hadid