The very first collection Kim Jones designed for Fendi was couture—the Spring 2022 collection that was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando’ and featured Demi Moore and Kate Moss on the runway—so there’s a certain symbiosis between the designer and the world of haute couture. For Fall/Winter 2022-23, that reciprocity reared its head once more, with a Japanese-inspired collection that celebrated the sublime craftsmanship of the brand’s Italian atelier.
Jones took a favourite travel location as inspiration for the new collection: Kyoto, Japan, which was the first location he visited once international borders opened in 2021. For a collection that, from his telling, captured “the fragmentary nature of things, echoed… like snatches of memory”, Jones traveled to different cities including Kyoto, Rome (Fendi’s headquarters), and Paris (where the collection showed), to craft pieces that married sensibilities from the east and west. A Japanese purveyor of kimono silk was tapped to create fabrics that mirrored original 1700s obis’ that Kim Jones sourced during his travels.
The end result included gowns that married a 1920s sensibility (an era where the French discovered Japanese textiles for the first time, and went crazy for them) with thoroughly modern silhouettes. Mermaid-like dresses that cling to the body, embroidered with sequins and floating strips of coloured tulle; sheer evening gowns allowed Jones’ impeccable attention to detail to shine—intricately beaded leaves appeared against Art Deco sequin spirals, or on sheer and satin panels. Even the more pared-back elements—slouchy men’s-inspired suiting, daywear made with soft chocolate brown leather—had the hallmark elements of haute couture. The pieces were cut perfectly to the body using sumptuous wools and soft cashmeres, or embellished with paillettes. Even seemingly simple day dresses were draped expertly across the body, or cut with micro pleats that made silk fall along the leg just so.
The collection was also enhanced by the introduction of Fendi’s first ever high jewellery collection, a diamond-filled extravaganza crafted by the Fendi heiress and artistic director of jewllery, Delfina Delettrez. Highlights included a three-piece parure featuring over 1,000 white diamonds and yellow baguettes, fashioned into—among other things—the iconic Fendi ‘F’. “I really wanted to work with the concept of purity and lightness, and I wanted the pieces to be meaningful and evocative,” Delettrez told WWD. “I thought that there is nothing more evocative than the diamond, and there is nothing more meaningful at Fendi than the yellow.”
High jewellery and haute couture are naturally aligned—bespoke pieces that represent the very best a luxury brand has to offer. As the lights dimmed on the bright white set Fendi erected in Paris this afternoon, it was clear that Jones’ tenure at Fendi represents the very best of both the designer and the house itself. It’s a marriage destined for many happy anniversaries to come.