There really wasn’t a better way to mark the first in-person Milan Fashion Week since the pandemic began than with Kim Jones presenting his first in-person outing for Fendi. Jones’ appointment to the storied Italian house—where he serves as creative director for womenswear—took place in September 2020, meaning the fashion world hadn’t yet had an opportunity to celebrate his tenure in person. Yesterday afternoon they finally had their chance, with Jones presenting his spring summer ‘22 offering in Milan to a star-studded front row that included Gossip Girl star Jordan Alexander, Maddie Ziegler, and filmmaker Luca Guadagnino.
Jones’ role has been to envision a forward-thinking vision for Fendi following the 2019 passing of its long-term creative director Karl Lagerfeld. On that front he has been delivering in droves, presenting clothes that retains the core principles of the brand’s near 100-year history while still keeping one eye fixed firmly on the wardrobe needs of modern women. For spring summer ‘22, for example, the show opened with a slew of thoroughly wearable everyday looks: a boxy white wrap coat, a tailored vest suit, the ubiquitous Fendi fur coat. But as the collection progressed, the chic Fendi daywear began to loosen up and give way to tasseled metallic party dresses, slouchy pink satin suits worn with flirty bralettes, and sleeveless silk gowns delicately embossed with the ‘F’ logo.
The collection’s biggest talking point was the integration of illustrations from the archive of iconic fashion illustrator Antonio Lòpez. Puerto Rican-born Lopez was at the epicentre of the New York fashion scene in the ‘60s and ‘70s, publishing his work in The New York Times, Vogue, and Interview, and developing a reputation as the uneartherer of supermodels. Known as “Antonio’s girls”, Lopez is credited with discovering Jerry Hall, Jessica Lange, Pat Cleveland, Grace Jones, and Tina Chow. Having tragically died of AIDS-related illness aged 44, Lopez’s work often explored queer identity, and the intersection of that identity with gender and race. His work—which Jones dyed onto fur coats, printed on silk gowns and mini dresses, and embossed on leather boots and shrunken jackets—remains as relevant today as it ever has been.
“While I’ve been looking at Karl’s legacy at the house, I’ve also been looking around him, at his contemporaries – at who he was interested in,” Jones explained after the show. “Lopez was a friend of Karl’s, and has always been someone who inspired me. He was forward thinking; inclusive; looked up to by everyone from Andy Warhol to Steven Meisel and David Hockney. I wanted to introduce him to a new generation.”