It's always interesting to see what Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi come up with for their Spring/Summer runway shows considering that this is a house known for its expertise in fur and leather – two materials that lend themselves to cold weather wear. This time the pair just decided not to kowtow to seasons at all. And who could blame them considering the mood swings Mother Nature has been having over the last few years?
Backstage, Fendi talked about a folkloric somewhat Victoria sensibility to the collection, but on the runway the style looked as if it harkened back further, to more medieval times. The structural nature of the impressive handicraft work used on the clothing seemed almost armor-like in their application. Particularly on the key silhouette of the show, a dress crafted with sections at the sides cut away to expose the model's waistline. Onto this Lagerfeld used both macro and micro leather stitch work to great effect. Some dresses had pockets outlined in wide whipstitching, others featured a braided snakeskin harness. He even reworked the dress design into an open weave mink for a summer fur coat alternative.
Next to all this impressive show of sartorial strength (including one knockout red basket weave leather skirt and a short body con dress constructed from leather smocking), the designer brought in a bit of romantic volume via full sleeved poet shirts. The way he was able to lightly drape the fabric – which surprisingly was sometimes actually leather – was beautifully done and the allusion to a bow at the back of the neck made for a sweet touch. Often those tops were paired with leather romper shorts (think Shakespearean thespians) that really only belong on the stage. However, a few silk print pieces with a motif that echoed the graphic stitch work were a lovely fluid interlude among all of the more disciplined designs.
As for the accessories, they proved themselves to be some of the most adaptable items in the show, considering that most of the eye catching woven or leather flower embellished straps have been designed to be detachable. They will also be sold separately when they hit the Fendi stores. Thus making it possible for buyers to customize their designer bags. Now, how chivalrous is that?