MILAN, Italy — Silvia Venturini Fendi invoked the power of positive thought with her new menswear collection. “I have no choice but to be optimistic,” she said before the show, “I have children and grandchildren.” So she used her clothes to broadcast upbeat messages. Headbands exhorted us to THINK and TRY – YES and FANTASTIC if you could do that. Knitwear promoted LOVE, a hand-painted shearling endorsed HOPE and TRUST. “It’s going to be a hard new year,” Silvia mused, “so, in any domain, you use what tools you have to be positive.”
The positivity was underscored by the colour accents that streamed through the collection. “Poster colours,” she called them, hot pinks and oranges, bright blues, sunny yellows. Everything was reversible, the interiors treated like bags, Silvia said, so there was artful pocketing when a sober grey parka flipped to vivid orange, or a khaki coat reversed to poppy pink. In fact, “poppy” covered the bases, right down to the Mod-dy hairdos (very Small Faces).
But Silvia was adamant that there was not really any of that. “Real,” she emphasised, “and looking to the future.” The collection’s lightness and athleticism definitely spoke to that, with its nylon hoodies, zip-up cycling tops and high-tech sneakers. “After that, it’s hard to go back to heavy structure, to a suit and tie,” said Silvia. When she set to praising a voluminous but feather-light quilted nylon coat, she re-iterated how difficult it would be to return to “a heavy fur coat.”
Radical though that sounded from the queen of the fashion world’s most famously furry house, it was also a welcome recognition of reality. Still, Fendi’s rep remains rooted in its extraordinary aptitude with fur and fleece, and the most spectacular piece on this particular catwalk was, unsurprisingly, a coat made of inlaid bands of multi-coloured shearling. But it was oh so positive.