The golden arches at the end of the Fendi catwalk had nothing to do with fast food. Rather they underlined designer Karl Lagerfeld’s life long appreciation for architecture. The elegant black and white photos of the archways at the Palazzo della Civilta (the new Fendi headquarters in Rome) that Lagerfeld shot and included in the show’s press kit, also highlighted the designer’s keen eye for shapes, shadows and structure.
In fact, those three elements became the foundation of this delightfully daring collection.
When Cara Delevingne opened the show walking down the catwalk, which was made to look like a two-lane white lined highway, she introduced the other keystone element of the collection. Her short trapeze shift dress, with its architectural Venetian blind venting inserts, was cut in a bold orchid print. Its floral motif was disrupted by a larger version of the pattern used on the slated in openings.
By using this hot house flower as counterpoint, Lagerfeld was able to inject an organic softening agent into all of the show’s highly-engineered ensembles. They appeared as must-have hand-tooled suede hair ties, embroidered onto dresses, woven into a fur jacket and spectacularly sprouting out of a number of leather looks.
It was almost as if the organic and the man made starting points were pulling against each other in the show to create a tension that was palpable.
Sometimes the architectural elements came out ahead, as in one stunning black dress crafted to mimic the Fendi Palazzo archways, or the suede jackets treated with a lacquered spray paint effect to create color bands across their widths. The controled sliced fringe tops were other crafty hits.
At other points in the show it was mother nature that took the lead. Case in point, the orchid print pieces at the start of the show and the feathery cocktail dresses that made up its finale.