There’s a certain understated ease and simplicity we’ve come to expect from Fendi’s couture collections since Kim Jones took the helm as artistic director of couture in 2020. After all, it’s one of the few labels that manages to offer rich heritage and craftsmanship while still maintaining that insider feel. Supple leathers, suedes, and sequins in a gentle palette of earth tones can easily make clothing that takes up to 600 hours to create feel low-key, but still mesmerizing.
The fall 2022 couture collection opened with subtle separates in leather and suede before diverting to ethereal fragmented dresses that took inspiration from Kyoto textile traditions. Jones looked at kimono fabric from the eighteenth century as inspiration, along with Kata Yuzen, a painstaking hand printing and painting technique that has been around for centuries. Japanese maple leaves covered delicate tulle dresses ever so slightly—if you didn’t look closely, you might just miss out on the motif.
Photographs by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage
For the past few seasons, Fendi has put a huge focus on its historic archives, with Roman symbols and mementos presented in collection after collection. But this time, Jones went in a different direction, conceptually speaking. “This season, I wanted to step away from Rome, or at least place Rome in a global context,” the designer said in a statement. “In this collection, we are looking at fragments of different cities: namely—Kyoto, Paris, and Rome. The fragmentary nature of things is echoed throughout the collection, like snatches of memory or the impression of things past, present, and future.”
Photographs by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images.
That being said, the quiet beauty of the collection was definitely the aesthetic mainstay. But it wouldn’t be couture without a few pieces that truly dazzled—after all, most of the world will only encounter true couture through their phone screens when pieces are worn by celebrities for red carpet events. In this department, Fendi didn’t fail. There were glittering crystal chains atop sheer fabrics (a tribute to the lines seen in Parisian architecture), a sea of transparent, shimmering dresses, and a debut high jewelry collection designed by Delfina Delettrez Fendi.
But perhaps the most stunning looks of all were the long-sleeve dresses with trailing mermaid tails, their pastel pink and seafoam green hues a sparkling ray of brightness against the silver patchwork metallics.
Photographs by Estrop/Getty Images.
This season’s Fendi woman seemed to draw inner strength from not being bogged down with look-at-me details—and, as such, the collection left guests feeling a softer kind of awe. Jones clearly didn’t feel he had to be loud to still make an impactful statement, even amid a dazzling week of boundary-pushing garments, splashy celebrities walking the runway, and shows that verged on straight-up theatrics. But pieces of bona fide couture that still feel interesting, immaculately well-made, and still wearable for everyday? That’s groundbreaking, especially in a world that often feels so tied to viral moments and performance for performance’s sake.