Roman Reverie: The Alchemy of Imperfection in Fendi’s Latest Collection by Kim Jones

Dear Shaded Viewers,

“When I am in Rome, every day I walk from the hotel to the Colosseum wearing my ear pods. It’s like listening to a soundtrack to an imaginary film with FENDI characters I see along the way,” says Kim Jones, FENDI Artistic Director of Couture and Womenswear.

“In Rome, there is an elegance in ease and not caring what anybody else thinks – that is real luxury. In this collection, I wanted to reflect that. It is about women who dress for themselves and their own lives, I see it with Silvia and Delfina all of the time. It’s not about the spectacle of being looked at but the reality of wearing and the confidence and chicness that comes with it. It’s not about being something but being someone.”

In a wander through Rome’s labyrinthine streets, the everyday takes on an ethereal glow—history weaves its fingers through the present, and fashion becomes not just an expression but an extension of one’s innermost self. Kim Jones’ latest Fendi collection captures this elusive Roman essence. It’s a couture exploration that praises the art of imperfection, elevating it into an extraordinary form of human finesse. The notion of luxury is redefined, not ostentatious but intimately tied to comfort and the quiet bravado that comes when one’s attire is a second skin.

The collection flaunts a certain duality that can only be described as quintessentially Fendi. It straddles the pragmatic and the whimsical, mashing masculine silhouettes and fabrics like high-quality kid mohair with softer, feminine accouterments in the form of silks and knits. Tailored trousers shed their rigidity, revealing the intricacies of their inner construction as they are teamed with flowing knitwear. Evening dresses, often reserved for special occasions, find new life in the daylight hours. Indeed, Fendi’s signature Featherlite technique gives birth to a summer wardrobe staple: organza-backed, soft shearling skirt suits paired with utilitarian work shirts. And let’s not overlook the fine balance struck between an oversized masculine car coat and its feminine counterpart—metal anklet ballet car shoes designed for both flair and function.

This seamless blend of old and new, of archival and contemporary, is not incidental. It pays homage to Fendi’s storied past, integrating iconic Selleria stitching, originally the handiwork of Roman saddlers, across various aspects of the collection. Even Delfina Delettrez Fendi, the brand’s Artistic Director of Jewelry, captures this thread of continuity in her Fendi Filo jewelry. The emblematic FF logo is reinterpreted, turning into a whimsical touchstone found in garments and accessories alike.

Colors are another notable mention—the palette plucked from Karl Lagerfeld’s Spring/Summer 1999 collection. Not just a nostalgia trip, but a continuum that reiterates that fashion, like Rome, is eternal.

Silvia Venturini Fendi, overseeing Accessories and Menswear, likewise brings a multitude of styles and techniques into her bags, rejecting the notion that one size fits all. From the iconic Peekaboo and Baguette bags to new innovations like the Flip—a playful shopper that transforms into a clutch—the collection celebrates the myriad identities of Fendi women. It’s not just an invitation but an insistence for wearers to embrace their idiosyncrasies, to don the armor of ‘Roman freedom.’

As for the music, the poignant amalgamation of Dinah Washington’s “This Bitter Earth” and Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight” underscores the collection’s emotional heft. Like the soundtrack, the fashion speaks to the convoluted tapestry of life—its ups, its downs, its bitter and its sweet. In its totality, the collection isn’t just a nod to Roman freedom; it’s an ode to human complexity.

Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.