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Fendi Fall 2021 Menswear

When the furthest you’re inclined to venture is the fewest possible footsteps beyond your front door, a Fendi logo silk jacquard dressing gown padded with feather-stuffed diagonal quilting, or a top-to-toe thermal underwear inspired rib-knit look—complete with dungarees—make sense. This collection contained both those examples of bed-to-bodega attire, along with a riotous “Fendi” cursive intarsia shearling coat and some powerfully colored piumino pajamas. Hidden in plain sight among them was a look (22) that Silvia Fendi laughingly conceded was arguably this season’s most transgressive: a black evening suit that was made extra thanks to its pajama-acknowledging blue piping and a louchely low double-breasted construction, but which was a black evening suit nonetheless.

“Yes that’s true! Because where can you go today dressed like that?” said Silvia of this momentary aside into 2019 nostalgia. We were backstage at the Fendi showroom shortly after the filming of this collection had been completed. In her customary ante-room Silvia was just off a call with one far away journalist, waiting for the next. Between times, she took a chamomile tea then broke free to roam the rails and point out details and pieces—slits in suiting and outerwear that presented glimpses of lining when in motion; camel hair topcoats; hooded shearlings; mink liner-jackets—that reflected a collection of pieces she called: “very tactile—so soft you can sleep in them—and also very functional. Clothes that make you feel good. Because I do think that fashion can have a therapeutic aspect.” Accessories included slipper-spats for seamless indoor-outdoor footwear functionality, and mini-trolleys to reflect our shrunken but still aspirational physical horizons.

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As Fendi demonstrated, many of the garments were reversible to double their dosage of potential therapy. And the population of patients who might benefit, she added, was purposefully broad: “To avoid that fashionista attitude, I like to consider menswear through many different men who keep their personality… I think in the future, fashion is going to be more individualistic, and I wanted to keep that idea in the show.”

That show was a purposefully-tight runway film soundtracked by samples of Fendi wondering “what is normal today” over a dynamic track by Not Waving. Apart from a set whose lighting reflected the evolving palette of the pieces, the approach was straightforward and succinct. “I want it to be energetic and not too long… we have so much information today and and I don’t think we can [ask for viewers’] concentration for too long.”

One attention grabbing aspect was the inclusion of artwork—including that cursive Fendi lettering—by Noel Fielding. Probably best known in the US as a host of more recent series of The Great British Baking Show, Fielding is a stalwart of British alternative comedy—see The Mighty Boosh and The IT Crowd—of whom Fendi said: “I like him as a man, and he is a multifaceted talent: writing, comedy, music, art. This is something we all have to do today, I think, to change our own skins. And speaking of therapy, in his graphics you can read what you want to see, like colored yarns that have been thrown on the floor to make a pattern.” What Silvia wants, or at least hopes for, she said, is that this collection “will be something that can be worn on the street next winter, and be enjoyed for its bright colors and tactile feel.” Whether still-cocooned pupa or freshly-metamorphosed imago, this Fendi collection offered options for man at every stage of re-emergence.