Fur, Feathers, Fendi

Fendi’s first haute fourrure show celebrated decadence — and Karl Lagerfeld’s 50th anniversary at the house. (Just don’t tell the Kaiser)

The historic Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris was an apt choice to stage Karl Lagerfeld’s first haute fourrure collection for Fendi. Opened in 1913, Paris’ famed Ballets Russes staged its first season and Igor Stravinsky premiered his Rite of Spring ballet that same year. It was also here, in 1925, that the controversial dancer Josephine Baker, sporting short hair and a green feather skirt, took to the stage for her erotic, charged performances.

In the face of PETA protests (kept at bay by security), Lagerfeld sent out a 36-look collection dubbed “Silver Moon” on Wednesday night. Inspired by fur, feathers and birds in flight, there were textured capes, intarsia (a kind of knitwork) coats, multi-coloured stoles that trailed dramatically behind the models, and floor-length minks. Other furs used included sable, lynx, fox, Persian lamb (which had a velvet effect) and ermine, the fur of choice for kings.

Some pieces recalled Lagerfeld’s early designs for Fendi in the late 1960s, when he introduced the idea of “fun fur” for the Roman house. As with all Fendi furs, textures ruled — intracio work, 3D floral appliques, silver-tipped mink that imbued a metallic effect, and embroidery by famed French ateliers Lemarie and Hurel, a first for Fendi. Peekaboo and Baguette micro-bags in exotic leather and fur, and metallic-toned low heels completed the looks.

“For the moment, people like fur, but they like fur as a fantasy, not as a status symbol,” Karl Lagerfeld told WWD. And so there was a distinct Game of Thrones-meets-rock ‘n’ roll vibe, notably in the first look, a hooded floor-length coat. The showstopper was a white coat with gold feathers on the lapels and a feather motif spread out like wings on the back: Perfect for Tilda Swinton as the angel Gabriel in the 2005 movie Constantine.

Unofficially, the collection also marked Lagerfeld’s 50th year at Fendi, a fact that he and the house have downplayed — preferring, instead, to look ahead. Word has it that there will be another haute fourrure show next season.

Photos: Fendi

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