Fendi haute fourrure — or high fur — by Karl Lagerfeld will be shown in Paris during the July couture season — a dramatic upheaval in the rarified world of both high fashion and fur.
Lagerfeld — who showed a powered-up, hyper-modern Fendi collection in Milan, inspired by the graphic work of the 1920s Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp – said that the Paris show was definitely scheduled.
“We don’t have the space in this Fendi collection to do high fur, because the ready-to-wear is now doing so well,” said the designer, who took his traditional bow with Silvia Venturini Fendi at the end of a long runway with blown-up images of the geometric, abstract artworks painted on the side walls.
Fendi CEO Pietro Beccari, who has done so much to propel the brand forward over the last two years, could not immediately be reached for comment about the Paris fur show. But it would make sense for LVMH, which owns the label, to cement Fendi’s status as the most important global fur brand. Significantly, the Fendi store that opened this month in New York offered an exceptional showcase to fur.
Paradoxically, but understandably in the new circumstances, fur was not the attention snatcher for Autumn/Winter 2015. Instead the collection opened with a lean, white silhouette,maybe set off by red. After that palette cleanser came patches of colour in shades of orange, mustard and red, which were the dominant hues. The fur focus seemed to be on shearling, although Fendi always offers a furry puzzle.
Sometimes there were just fur ‘extras’, such as Mongolian lamb leg-warmers. The same curly fur came at the elbow of long gloves. Another variation on leg interest were leather chaps as worn by Latin American gauchos.
Fluffy fur accessories were challenged this season by the ‘shark’ effects of Bird of Paradise flowers that were used as decoration for handbags.
But what stood out were the shapes and volumes extracted from Sophie Taeuber by Karl’s artistic eye and cultured mind. A few were fashion ‘Geometricks’ using vast triangular shapes for short coats; or gigantic riffs on squares, worn as a midriff frame on a panelled dress.
“Very graphic, very lean, only modern shapes and not from the recent past,” said Lagerfeld backstage. Then, in a characteristic swipe – this time at Gucci’s new romantic designer — Karl added, “No flea market here.”
Is Karl, at 80-something, really going to do yet another collection, with Fendi Fourrure bumping up against Chanel? Knowing him as I do, I would say that the answer is a resounding YES.