With a long history of supporting the arts – from the Italian fashion house funding restoration of Rome's Trevi Fountain to collaborating with Royal College of Art students on window designs – Fendi has always firmly rooted itself as a lynchpin between the two industries. However, Karl Lagerfeld's A/W15 collection showed that the brand wants to do more than support creativity; it wants to be dressing the artistic creatives.
Fendi have recently shown that, although the brand is firmly rooted in luxury heritage, they are willing and able to evolve with the times. From their dedication to innovation and experimentation at their fur atelier (to be showcased during their first couture collection, "Haute Fourrure", this June), to their S/S14 collaboration with young surrealist jeweller Delfina Delletrez and the employment of drones on their A/W14 runway, in recent years Lagerfeld (and CEO Pietro Beccari) have seen the house grow from strength. And for 2015, Lagerfeld seems to be acknowledging and creating for a new and powerful customer base: the art industry.
Incorporating the artworks of Sophie Taeuber-Arp into both the set-design and pieces themselves, Fendi showed a definitively contemporary and artistic collection that wouldn't look out of place worn by the curators of Frieze. We take a look at some of its key elements, illustrated by Federico Ferrari.
Held in a showspace filled with the works of Dadaist artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp, the collection incorporated her geometric prints into fabrics and reproduced them into handbags. However, it wasn’t just the determinedly explicit references that acknowledged her work, but it could also be seen through the angular cuts of jackets and sharp leather tabards which nodded towards her nuanced understanding of proportion and abstract harmony. A clear effort at bringing the worlds of art and fashion together, and a resounding success.
Cosy, duvet-like coats and dresses were surprisingly evocative of Comme des Garcons or Yohji Yamamoto A/W14; they were outfits to be worn by curators during gallery shows and art fairs. As Susy Menkes noted last year, Frieze has become a "fashion barometer" for the modern world and A/W15 Menswear saw an abundance of artistic collaborations unifying the industries. Never one to fall behind the curve, Lagerfeld has embraced his new potential clientele by merging exuberant luxury with the avant-garde, and we expect to see it out in force come October's fair (just after the collection will hit stores).
Birds of Paradise
A/W14 saw flowers nestled into furs, while S/S15 had orchids emblazoned on everything from show invitations to dresses. This season, the floristry came in the form of spiky Birds of Paradise protruding from handbags in a far more severe execution of the florals that have become one of Karl’s signature markings on the Italian house.