• Text Jake Hall
  • 21st February 2020

A new femininity

The word “liberation” is mentioned a lot at Fendi, especially since Silvia Venturini took the reins of the family business. Her vision for the storied house is rooted in a few constants: the beauty of nature, the joys of comfort (for SS20, there were no high heels) and the power of women designing for other women – still a rarity in high fashion.

For FW20, this idea of power dominated the collection. In an industry which occasionally sees “androgyny” as a buzzword, it was refreshing to see the designer move away from merely dressing women in trouser suits, instead adding the visual hallmarks of idealised femininity – the nipped waists, the corsetry boning, the lingerie detailing – to pin-striped grey, woolen dresses. Sleeves were often tubular with blown-up proportions, and even leather belts came fitted with tiny, golden bags that glinted in the light.

The collection veered between vampy and endearingly saccharine with ease: black leather one minute, blush pink wool the next. Fendi’s signature furs – which it pledged to switch to faux back in 2018 – were either patchwork or short and tightly-belted, whereas the house’s trademark buttercup yellow made its way onto Victoriana midi-dresses, pleated, kick-flare trousers and sheer lace skirts.

There was even attention to detail with the casting, which featured two plus-size models (Jill Kortleve and Paloma Elsesser), veering away from the blueprint. It’s all part of Fendi’s mission to liberate women – but without ever sacrificing their femininity.