Two designers, one a Roman Goliath and the other a Milan David cement their identities. A look at how Fendi and A-Cold-Wall* expressed their manly visions.
Similar to a Berlitz language course, a robotic voiceover that kicked off the Fendi men’s show projected simple sentences for aiding in learning the English language that got more and more perverse as the refrain played on. “I am a good boy. We were good boys. I am a good girl. We were good girls. I am a bad boy. We were bad boys” so on and so forth morphing into “I am evil. You are an evil man. I am having sex. I am bored. I am a lie.” to name but a few.
of the existential crisis of the fictional teaching voice and the collection
was undeniable. Though in the latter’s case, the point was Fendi knows exactly
who they are. This collection hit you over the head with the proverbial baguette
bag, taking brand ownership clout up a notch or three. One show-goer smartly suggested
that the leather goods, mainly new versions of the house greatest hits, were
made in the likeness of Fendi shopping bags, Fendi shoe and bag dustcovers and
Fendi box packaging related to a photo of Kris Jenner and entourage exiting the
Fendi store in Rome with more packages than Santa Claus.
The marketing/brand identity score was genius in that it also translated into some seriously covetable accessories as well as the clothes which were not immune to house codes either. Case in point, a men’s suit, a nylon puffer, and suede separates, all came in Fendi yellow and the color accented throughout the collection. In this reimagined “new normal, where ‘traditional’ garments are not always what they seem” according to a release, showed tailored pieces with nods to feminine styles in the most masculine way this critic has seen to date. They were shown from the inside out pulling back the curtain on the inner workings of Fendi craftsmanship. According to show notes, designer Sylvia Venturini-Fendi considers “the garment as a body wallet” with multiple pockets on reversible outerwear and knits for everything from “tailored cardholders, earphones, and even a cigar.”
Fendi heritage aside, these Romans are also quite tech-savvy. This season marked a collaboration with Japanese creative director Kunihiko Morinaga of the Paris-based brand Anrealage. Venturini-Fendi and Morinaga collaborated on a photochromic technique that utilizes UV color-changing fabric technology pioneered by the Japanese designer in 2013. The capsule collection of sports-minded outerwear and accessories reveals more Fendi branding when exposed to UV light and was demonstrated by models standing in the center of a circular lighting fixture that activated the patterns on the garments. Thus, driving home the Fendi brand name in any light.
Ask any parent and most likely, they will tell you that parenthood changed their outlook on a lot of things. Samuel Ross, a father and also the designer of A-Cold-Wall*, is no exception. Backstage following his Milan debut, Ross told The Impression about his fresh view.
“It’s a side of myself, I have a daughter and fiancé and moving into manhood from boy to man as a whole. My psyche and philosophy for how a man should look and dress are developing and changing into this masculinity and being present in this modernity.” said Ross adding “the premise of the collection is the idea of time-lapse, passing through time and modern life. I’m owning this idea of stewardship in terms of tailoring and taking parts of a man’s wardrobe that are recognized and tweaking them, interchanging them and enhancing them with the spirit of A-Cold-Wall*.”
To that end, familiar building blocks of a man’s wardrobe
were evident but refitted, tweaked and given just the right amount differentiation.
For instance, a traditional pea coat was given a technical lining; a beautiful
double-faced wool overcoat had asymmetrical cuts and openings; a simple short-sleeve
collared shirt was given a fresh perspective; a double-breasted suit is given a
boxy more fluid silhouette. “It’s an ode and homage to menswear as a whole by
modernizing what we already know works,” adding “I’m interested in having a
dialogue with the working professional; not just to a specific generation but a
certain psyche; the artisan, the creative professional, such as a novelist, architect
Modernity appeared as cords that adjust volume or cords in a
parka hood that can reshape it. Technical fabrics such as a foam coated nylon
and 3D textured jersey spun in deep hues and rich patinas recall landscapes. “I
was also looking at how historically people have moved across ecological
landscapes which is why you have these crossroads of people crossing over each
other on the runway.”
Metaphorically his brand has been at a crossroads in the making for the last year and a half. “I was wanting to shift the direction of the collection, but it takes time to find the right partners, build the right supply chains, and produce on this level and caliber and the conversation with Milan coincided shift to more traditional menswear. London is still home but Milan gives me the right platform and a rejuvenated step to debut the conversation for the next direction for A-Cold-Wall*.”