There’s always much anticipation when the reigns of a fashion house are passed down to the next successor. Stakes are presumedly even greater when the inimitable Karl Lagerfeld held the position previously. But that was the task at hand for Silvia Venturini Fendi, who debuted her first womenswear collection for the house of Fendi since Lagerfield’s passing last winter. While the Italian brand is literally in her DNA, Fendi's first solo venture since Lagerfeld started designing for the label in the '60s kicked things off on a festive note. Yes, Fendi's Spring/Summer 2020 saw the dawn of a new day that included equal parts nostalgia and wanderlust.
As the brand shared in its notes, the collection presented on the runway in Milan “charts a path of playful opulence through a summer’s day.” But instead of your mind instantly heading to the closest Italian coast (who could blame you) it was clear from the first look that Fendi instead captured the warmth and sentiment of summer with earth tones of brown, tan, and buttery beiges.
From there, the designs were juxtaposed with oversized floral and gingham prints as well as hues of pink, blue, and green. It didn’t exactly bring to mind the summer that’s wrapping up right now, or even the one coming down the line in 2020. Instead, Fendi’s vision seemed closer to the Summer of Love and Woodstock, with late ‘60s style references throughout.
The theme was strong with wide-collared shirts and jackets, luxe suede coats that skimmed the tops of platform sandals, crocheted sets, and tortoise sunglasses frames big enough to rest on your cheekbones. Several pieces in the collection did suggest vacation wear, complete with swimwear styled under sheer dresses. (Hence, the "playfulness" the brand referenced in its show notes.)
But Fendi’s collection was not strictly for the off-duty woman. In the brand's runway vision, clothing catered to the woman who’s on-the-go. Silhouettes of wide-leg pants, relaxed boiler suits, and boxy jackets included practical details like cargo pockets for hands-free meandering. Quilted fabrics, PJ shorts, and low-heeled footwear prioritized comfort. Meanwhile there were a number of skirt-and-jacket sets that will be an obvious favorite for anyone who appreciates easy, but highly effective styling that still offers plenty of mix-and-match possibilities.
Naturally, one can't look at a Fendi collection without the eyes darting to the handbags. In this case, the brand updated its iconic silhouettes like the Peekaboo and Baguette with raffia, woven leather, suede, and fringe. And while logo-mania has reigned supreme over the past year, next season indicates a more subdued palette, with an emphasis on texture, fabric, and hardware.
Up until this point, Fendi — the woman, not the label — had previously lead the company's accessories and menswear collections, but now she seems fully equipped to lead the iconic house forward. And despite the sadness of the sun setting on Karl Lagerfeld's reign, this show quite literally indicated a new day and bright future ahead (and Fendi has the oversized sunnies to prove it).