In November last year, Fendi completed a 16-month restoration of Rome’s iconic Trevi Fountain as part of its ongoing Fendi For Fountains programme. But the unveiling of the rejuvenated 284-year-old monument wasn’t the sole highlight of the project. Last night, in celebration of its 90th anniversary, the Italian house held a special fashion show at the fountain – the first in history to be presented there.
Called Legends and Fairy Tales, the haute fourrure collection saw models (Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner among them) walking down an “invisible” Perspex runway that ran across the fountain’s pool, making it seem like they were gliding on the turquoise water. The backdrop: The Trevi’s majestic baroque sculptures, carved of travertine and subtly lit to create a magical display of shadow on stone, light on water.
Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner walked the show
Few collections would be capable of holding their own against such a setting, but Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi did the ambience more than justice. Together, they created 46 looks that had the audience so enraptured, it was easy, at least for those few minutes, to forget the jostling flock and the oppressive Roman summer heat, and swap our paper Fendi fans for phone cameras.
There was an intarsia fur coat across which two pastel princesses danced, and a dress embroidered with mink roses that had leaves shyly peeking out from beneath its V-shaped collar. A feather-light crochet dress that seemed to hold its fox fur blooms suspended in the air. An intricately hand-cut coat dusted with tiny birds, bees and flowers made of fur and feathers.
All were testament to the extraordinary skill of the Fendi ateliers (one coat took 1,200 hours of handiwork), and pointed to Lagerfeld’s starting point for the show’s theme: A 1914 book of fairy tales called East of the Sun and West of the Moon, illustrated by Danish artist Kay Nielsen. “It was in a way the mood of my childhood, the Northern fairy tales,” the designer said of his choice of the book.
At the end, as Karl and Silvia came out to take their bows, arms wrapped around each other, many in the audience rose and called out the one word that seemed to best fit the occasion. “Bravo,” they cried. “Bravo!”