Kim Jones has followed in Karl Lagerfeld’s footsteps as not only Fendi’s creative director, but perhaps as the fashion elite’s most beloved figure. And while the casting of his debut Fendi show was guaranteed to be top-tier—the English designer closed out his final Louis Vuitton men’s show hand-in-hand with Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss—Jones knocked it out of the park. (With a little help from casting director Shelley Durkan.)
Demi Moore was the first of many stars to step out on the runway of Wednesday’s spring 2021 haute couture show, in plunging, off-the-shoulder navy silk. From there came Cara Delevingne, Bella Hadid, Farida Khelfa, Naomi Campbell, and Adwoa Aboah. Kate Moss and Christy Turlington each proceeded their younger relatives: Moss’s daughter, Lila, and Turlington’s nephew, James. It was the type of fashion week moment the industry has been deprived of for nearly a year—perhaps specifically since Vetements cast a dead-on Kate Moss lookalike, or “plus-size” runway models walked Fendi for the first time ever.
And then there were the clothes. Jones’s first-ever womenswear collection was heavy on intricate beading sheer fabric, trains, and capes. He, like Tilda Swinton and the Met Gala organizers before him, was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s seminal 1928 novel Orlando, as well as a love letter she wrote to the author Vita Sackville-West three years before Fendi launched. The references were mostly explicit. Lines from the text could be found on boots and minaudières, and “friends and family” of the house read extracts aloud. There was even an accompanying exhibition, featuring marble-bound books by Woolf and her husband.
Jones didn’t forget to pay homage to his predecessor, who spent more than half a century at the house’s helm. The “Karligraphy” monograms found on leather boots were taken from Lagerfeld’s final Fendi show.