Last month, Kim Jones made his debut Fendi show a moment within seconds: None other than Demi Moore was the first model to hit the runway. Supermodel after supermodel followed, many of whom, like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, consider the English designer family. (He took his final pre-Fendi bow, at Louis Vuitton, arm in arm with the pair.)
But for his first ready-to-wear show, which took a month later, Jones opted not to make a splash. The cast was largely unfamiliar—and devoid of plus-size models, who were finally featured in the last three shows before his tenure—and dressed in entirely neutral shades. Altogether, the collection amounted to a trip through 95 years’ worth of Fendi archives. Neutrals, for example, are a Fendi signature, going back to its founding in 1926.
Naturally, hallmarks of the late Karl Lagerfeld, who spent a whopping 54 years at Fendi’s helm, were everywhere. One clear example was the 1981 “Karligraphy” monogram, which also resurfaced in Lagerfeld’s final, posthumous collection. Silvia Venturini Fendi, the creative director behind the iconic Baguette bag, no doubt approved; she welcomed Jones into the house with more than 70,000 of Lagerfeld’s sketches.
One of the most prominent Karl-isms came as something of a surprise. Staying true to Lagerfeld’s proclamation that “Fendi is fur—and fur is Fendi,” Jones rolled out a bevy of fur coats; one model was positively swamped in long-haired fox. It was upcycled, but bold nonetheless at a time when much of the industry has denounced the use of animal skin. (Prada, Miu Miu, Gucci, and Chanel are just some of those who’ve gone fur-free in recent years.) Jones may follow in their footsteps soon. “We’re looking at ways of how we work that ethically and, you know, in a better way,” he told WWD. “It’s too early for me to talk about.”