It wasn’t as if Kim Jones—the newly-minted creative director of womenswear at Fendi—needed any more hype for his debut couture collection. It had plenty of that all on its own. Jones has spent the last two decades as a menswear designer—first at Louis Vuitton and then at Dior—and his collections quickly became the stuff of modern fashion legend, earning him a cohort of besotted female fans, including the likes of Naomi Campbell, Victoria Beckham, and Kate Moss. It followed that his womenswear debut would have anyone with even a passing interest in fashion clamoring for a first look.
Having said that, when you add Demi Moore to the mix (the actress opened the show in a chic silk black two-piece), as well as the runway reprisals of Cara Delevingne and Christy Turlington, and appearances from Bella Hadid, Adwoa Aboah, and Lila Grace Moss, the hysteria is likely to reach fever pitch. And that it did—the star-studded runway event, which debuted this afternoon to much fanfare on social media, was staged in a constellation of marble-floored glass rooms, each filled with literary memorabilia that inspired Jones while he was designing. Eveningwear was the order of the day (this is couture season, after all) from the delicately embroidered pearl-embellished sheer dress worn by Moss (her mother, Kate, also appeared on the runway, in a feminine silk gown affixed with a rosette at the bust) to the dramatic, heavy silk cape, stitched with incredible fabrications that resembled marble, worn by Naomi Campbell to close out the show.
The collection was dubbed ‘From Bloomsbury to Borghese’—marking a marrying of Jones’ British roots and the Italian heritage of the 96-year-old fashion house. Bloomsbury, of course, refers to the collective of literary and art world figures that dominated British culture at the turn of the 20th century, including Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, and John Maynard Keynes. The Bloomsbury set often resided together in a large country house called ‘Charleston’ in a small town near Rednell in East Sussex—and it was here that Jones, now 47, grew up.
Jones’ fascination with the Bloomsbury set is lifelong, and he has collected much memorabilia from the group over the years. Many of those pieces were on display at the runway show, including an original edition of Woolf’s famous novel ‘Orlando,’ which acted as the collection’s primary inspiration. ‘Orlando’ is widely considered to be an ode to Woolf’s friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West—and Silvia Venturini Fendi, Isabelle Rossellini, Christina Ricci, Kate Moss, and Adwoa Aboah read passages from the book as part of the Max Richter-scored soundtrack.
Literary references aside, the runway event also paid homage to one of the central values of the Fendi brand: family. Moss—a longtime friend and muse of Jones’—and her daughter walked, as did Christy Turlington and her model nephew, James. Adwoa Aboah was joined by her artist sister, Kesewa Aboah, and Delfina Deletterz—the jewellery designer daughter of Silvia, who was recently appointed Fendi’s head of jewelry by Jones—walked alongside her younger sister, Leonetta Fendi.
“Fendi represents artisanal quality of the highest order, and it’s all about family,” Jones said in the accompanying show notes. “It’s in its third generation with a Fendi at its helm, and I am guest starring while bringing in the fourth. Here, I am surrounded by strong, powerful women who I love and respect, and want to bring their energy into what I do.” So far, Jones is exceeding his own expectations spectacularly—this looks like the start of a beautiful partnership.