Game of illusions

Fendi FW21
By Kinza Shenn | Fashion | 16 January 2021

What is normal today? In a realm in which we’re perennially over or under-dressed, where masks are the mandate, and socks are the new shoes, designers are being called to pose their answers to this question. Silvia Venturini Fendi dubbed the phenomenon “new contrasts”, and it was the centrepiece of her digital presentation for the label’s FW21 show.

Among the most surprising “new contrasts” was a collaboration with Noel Fielding. Invited by Silvia to scribble psychedelic, cosmic dreamscapes from stream-of-consciousness, his creature-like imaginations were then transposed to leather, tailoring, and sweaters that we fully expect to see the artist sporting on the next season of GBBO.

There were various squishy, shawl-collared coats simulating robes and duvets. Quilted down trousers and knitted gloved onesies. Essentially, a variety of ballooned silhouettes in service of safety and protection – and also, protection from all this talk about safety and protection. These were pieces to hide in and be cosy.

Italian visual artist Nico Vascellari produced a series of short films for the collection that capture its atmosphere. Flower beds, oceans, and fields of wheat were made dream-like through a haze of bright pigment. The show styling offered a similar journey, with primary and jewel tones bleeding into outfits until each model was entirely absorbed in reds, pinks or greens. The effect was joyful, and in the spoken-word dance-pop soundtrack, Silvia observed this journey of optimism: “looking at life in black and white. It’s like, monochromatic, and then all of a sudden… light”.

GALLERYCatwalk images from Fendi FW21