When Kim Jones strolls through Rome, his favorite accompaniment along the picturesque route from the Spanish Steps to the Trevi Fountain is the melodic fusion of Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight” and Dinah Washington’s 1960s track “This Bitter Earth.” It’s a musical composition that masterfully straddles the line between austerity and opulence, a perfect backdrop for the Fendi collection he unveiled on a Tuesday afternoon.
Persistent rumors surrounding changes at Fendi had cast a melancholic aura, further intensified by the presence of renowned fans like Linda Evangelista and Christina Ricci, as if it were a grand farewell. However, Kim Jones dispelled such notions with a show that underscored his subtle yet profound transformation of the brand. His Fendi trademarks remained prominent, from his homage to the elegant yet subversive alta borghesia style, as seen in Silvia Fendi’s daughter Delfina, to his ongoing revitalization of the archive, featuring quotes from Karl Lagerfeld’s Spring/Summer 1999 show: python prints, chrome yellow accents, and asymmetric cutouts. Kim Jones’ remarkable talent lies in effortlessly infusing his unique design language into the houses he designs for. For instance, his fondness for a particular shade of pale blue, dubbed Woolf Blue in honor of Virginia Woolf, has become a signature at Fendi.
Jones’ vision extends beyond fashion itself; he spoke of catering to “busy women looking for lasting pieces.” In response to this demand for discreet, enduring attire, this collection exhibited a refreshing boldness. It showcased a striking vermilion presence, a sophisticated geometric theme in knitwear bearing the Constructivist double FF motif, and intarsia techniques that highlighted leather’s ascendance over fur at Fendi. Key accessories included ballet flats and the innovative Flip bag, crafted from a folded-over Fendi F.
Meanwhile, Diesel’s Spring/Summer 2024 show, an electrifying marriage of denim and rave culture, drew a crowd of seven thousand attendees. The evening was filled with gin-based cocktails, culminating in a rainstorm that transformed the scene into an extraordinary tableau of umbrellas illuminated by smartphone screens. Glenn Martens, Diesel’s designer, aimed to celebrate life, understanding that shared challenges, even a rainstorm, can unite humanity.
Martens’ Diesel presentations have become spectacles in their own right. Yet, he acknowledged that some of his most intricate and captivating creations are purely showpieces. Unfortunately, the vast scale of Tuesday’s spectacle, despite the large screens broadcasting the runway action, proved challenging for his one-night-only creativity. In keeping with Diesel’s democratic spirit, the brand planned to screen free movies for Milanese residents over the next few days, featuring family-friendly selections during the day and more adult fare at night, concluding with a screening of “Mulholland Drive” on Friday night. As Martens stated, “It’s nice to give back.”
The theme for the show was inspired by movies, with models even adorned as Oscar statuettes. Film posters played a pivotal role in Martens’ distressed design layers, where layers of fabric were aged to mimic posters weathered on brick walls. The artistry behind these layers, akin to the mystery of Gerhard Richter’s abstract paintings, remains captivating. Martens’ signature is dressing for the End of Days, embracing beauty and unease, a theme increasingly pronounced with each season.
Spring/Summer 2024 ventured further into post-apocalyptic aesthetics, creating commercial appeal through distressed designs that retain their allure regardless of wear. Glenn Martens, a beacon of light amid the pouring rain, showcases a unique perspective that sets the stage for others to follow.