For the Autumn/Winter 2023 season, FENDI takes a bold step into the world of classicism and elegance with its latest collection, curated by artistic director Kim Jones. Inspired by the enigmatic style of Delfina Delettrez Fendi and her innate ability to express herself through the FENDI archive, Jones explores the boundaries of fashion through subtle subversion.

The collection deftly plays with contrasting elements, embracing the exploration and elevation of deconstruction, the merging of gendered archetypes, and the disruption of conventional ladylike sophistication. This is evident in the transformation of masculine tailoring and traditional fabrics into feminine forms, blurring the lines between traditional gender roles. Utilitarian influences make a statement throughout the collection, with the inclusion of boilersuits, aprons, and uniform-inspired designs.

The allure of insouciance is skillfully crafted in each garment, and the pieces are designed to be versatile and adaptable, allowing for multiple styling options. Delicate lace is given a modern twist as it is lacquered and layered, while hints of fetishism peek through in the form of lingerie-inspired accents and thigh-high lace-up boots.

Throughout the collection, clean-cut macs reveal sequined linings, and bias-cut draped dresses or Persian lamb bibs are adorned with harnessed straps, adding a touch of avant-garde sophistication. A punk-inspired aesthetic is masterfully incorporated, with knitwear featuring clean slashes or subtle distortions. Felted wools are intentionally slightly shrunken, and ribbed knits are left unbuttoned or worn asymmetrically. Satin dresses with twisted drapes gracefully flow alongside billowing scarves, epitomizing the collection’s romantic allure.

Jones shares his insights into the collection, stating, “It’s deconstructed, but luxurious. There’s a little nod to punk, and my admiration for DIY, but moved on towards something chic. The first day that Delfina walked into work, she was wearing blue and brown, and I thought she looked so great. There’s a chicness but a perversity to the way she twists FENDI, which is what I love.”

The rich history of the House is honored through the integration of graphic motifs from the Autumn/Winter 1996 FENDI archive, seamlessly expressed in intarsia. Additionally, Karl Lagerfeld’s 1981 sketches for multipurpose knitwear serve as a formative inspiration, breathing new life into the brand’s heritage.

Accompanying the collection is the introduction of the FENDI Origami handbag, a testament to the house’s multipurpose sensibility. Silvia Venturini Fendi, paying homage to the brand’s legacy, engineered the handbag to transform between two distinct silhouettes. Venturini Fendi remarks, “I think what is really nice is the movement of the bag, that it can be two things in one. That duality is very FENDI – as is the idea of something which appears simple but, in reality, is very complex.” Another style, the FENDI C’mon, embraces a similar concept of understated simplicity, designed to complement the sophistication of the collection.

Delfina Delettrez Fendi’s jewelry designs align seamlessly with the collection’s ethos. Exploring the purity of the double F motif, she creates striking ear adornments that capture the essence of FENDI, mirroring the purity and artistic depth present throughout the entire collection.

Published by HOLR Magazine.