Luxury prints and notorious logos have found their new home, on their competitor’s pieces. The new “if you can’t beat them, join them” outlook has placed couture on a path of re-emergence while honouring the names that came before.

Milan Fashion Week was brought to reckoning with the exception to its rule. Fendsace, they call it, the in between of the often-colliding worlds of Versace and Fendi. The “tearing” of the fashion rulebook was conceptualized by the “ripping off” of one another’s designs and cultural imprints. Kim Jones and Donatella Versace allowed us to witness the byproducts of their designs and the meaning woven within their fabrics. Each designer invited the other to play with their staple prints and to “burn” the typical fashion house down. 

The fusion was born. The collection unapologetically opened fashion’s time capsule, showcasing looks that always found their place off and on the runways. In a star-studded walk, supermodels that continue to assume the title of “icons” and those that followed their every move embodied the new theme, “coming-of-fashion-age”. Kate Moss and daughter Lila Grace Moss Hack stitched their respective timelines together, paying homage to the high-waist swimwear lines of the 80s and the showstopping bust cut-outs of the 90s. The nuanced marrying (prenup included) of Versace Barocco swirls and Fendi’s signature print gave our minds reason to think the brands were always one.       

GiGi hadid on the runway for Versace

Private school “prep” reintroduced itself to its punk alter-ego with Donatella Versace’s reimagining of Fendi. Plaid miniskirts that roamed the halls of dreary prep schools made their modernized debut with logo-embossed tights and knee-high boots. Those who wanted to “be” Paris Hilton and idolized the “that’s hot” era are now represented by the models who became the garments they carry. Y2K befriended “business” with low rise trousers, denim-on-denim and bold belt buckles dripped with fashion’s new term, Fendsace

Let’s not forget the collab that came before: Balenciaga X Gucci. The statement was worn and made at Balenciaga’s Spring 2022 “ready-to-wear” presentation. The collection titled “Clones” brings us to a new world, where technology’s altering, polishing and visual reinventions have us duplicated rather than, authentically replicated. Balenciaga enlisted artist Eliza Douglas to model all 44 looks, driving home the theme of forgotten autonomy

Director Quentin Deronzier explored and questioned notions of fabrication and appropriation with pieces that reflect a more mundane version of reality. Visions of european streetwear and oversized pieces ironically fit the category of an unknown future. The runway mimicked the essence of an “in between”. The polarizing emptiness that rules us found its place. It left us wondering if resorting into ourselves out of a fear of “otherness” was merely casting a societal expectation far too heavy to be reasonably upheld. Douglas’ face was hidden for the majority of the show; symbolizing the fight carried between the cameras and visions of beings that are long gone. 

Both fashion collaborations emphasized difference and the subjective meaning of “wearable”. Balenciaga X Gucci was more an internal questioning of lusted perfection, while “Fendsace” was a gathering of fashion’s favourites over the past three decades. From Naomi Campbell’s sequined slip dress to Douglas’ leather trench coat and paired scarf, the duos found their place amidst the undefinable. Couture’s future is here, complimenting worldly themes with “chique” patterns is a game consumers will always participate in and win.     

Published on Holr Magazine