Lagerfeld Crafts His Own Eulogy & Leaves It On The Fendi Catwalk
"Fashion's longest love story" came to a bittersweet conclusion at Milan Fashion Week
Karl Lagerfeld was working on the autumn/winter collection for Fendi right up until the end, they say, with calls flying between Paris and Rome with their usual frequency until the weekend.
On Tuesday, he was dead. The show went ahead.
The mood behind the scenes was understandably sombre, and there were tributes everywhere — “love Karl” was scrawled in his handwriting on the backdrop; each model wore a low ponytail à la Lagerfeld, and there were some extremely desirable high-collared white shirts on view.
The catwalk itself, as well as the models’ tights, buttons and polo necks, was adorned with the scrolling “Karligraphy” FF logo he designed for the house in 1981.
Silvia Venturini Fendi, the creative director of accessories, describes the German designer’s association with the Roman brand accurately as “fashion’s longest love story”. But Lagerfeld was a pragmatic and unsoppy man, and everyone at the LVMH-owned house knows business means business. This, in the case of Fendi, has been comparatively booming — revenues in 2017 are thought to have been €1.17 billion ($1.95 billion). So the atmosphere on the front row and on the catwalk was positive, even upbeat.
Perhaps this is because Fendi went from strength to strength creatively over the past few seasons, with this collection being no exception. The prevailing colour of Milan fashion week so far has been brown, in every shade from conker to camel — Fendi showed off some luscious wide-legged trousers, double-breasted jackets and coats, and wrap knife-pleat skirts in café au lait, caramel and mahogany. But it wasn’t all a sea of brown. There were leather coats in yolk yellow, skirts in sea green, plus flashes of bright tangerine, scarlet, Indian pink and purple on boots, bags and belts.
Its business is based on handbags and fur, but while bags are still hugely important, Fendi is dialling down on the animal skins. Perforated leather figured largely in handbags, but so did embroidered silk and even, gasp, vegetal leather, a huge step for Fendi.
As Gigi Hadid, wearing a daffodil-yellow semi-sheer silk dress and a highly atypical smile, closed the show, a short video played of Lagerfeld describing what he wore to his first day at Fendi in 1965: a Cerruti gaucho-style hat, sunglasses, and a Norfolk tweed jacket looking, as he said, “disreputable”.
Nothing disreputable here, though, just a supremely elegant, wearable collection presented without any OTT sentiment. And Lagerfeld would have been very happy with that.
— The Daily Telegraph