Fendi unveils a new campaign which finds a uniquely alluring balance of softness and power. The iconic Nick Knight handles photography and video for the Fall 2020 Women’s campaign.
Stylistically, many of this season’s womenswear collections and presentations have been characterized by explorations of femininity that combine traditionally feminine, “soft” codes with a more aggressive, typically masculine edge – Saint Laurent and R13 are other good examples of this trend. While it is up for debate whether this really is a new idea of dressing for women or just a confused rehashing of historical moments, and thus remains to be seen how much progressive mileage can come from it, this new campaign from Fendi manages to feel fresh and vital.
Much of this impact stems from Knight’s brilliant use of setting. He captures his models in what is probably a contemporary art installation. Its soft pink tufted floor seems like an endless comfy couch, while the back wall reminds us of one of Georgia O’Keeffe’s more abstract works – with all its floral suggestiveness. Standing before this abstractly sexual megaflora, these women seem to have blossomed out of it.
This background allows Knight to create simple harmonies or deep contrasts. Bedecked in prim chiffon or flowing pink velvet, our protagonists seem like just another delicate flower in this garden. Meanwhile, Anok Yai standing dominantly in a black leather trench coat that falls between 80’s power suiting and gestapo (the irony of this latter connection is not lost on us) creates a bold sense of tension. Knight smartly deploys a cohesive color scheme of pink, black, and gold to unify the energies of the individual images into a beautiful whole.
With its simultaneous sense of cohesion and dissonance, the campaign feels wordlessly conversational. None of its elements feel one-dimensional; it forces us to investigate our initial impressions of sexuality and femininity, and rethink what we recognize as elements of the history of fashion. The aesthetic unfurls itself like a thorny flower, yet seems to point to something beyond this duality of soft and hard, feminine and masculine – something transcendent. What does this look like? We are not there yet, but we’re happy to have Fendi with us along the way.
Photographer and Videographer | Nick Knight Talent | Anok Yai, Maggie Chen, and Yasmine Le Bon Stylist | Chaos Fashion Hair | Sam McKnight Make-Up | Val Garland Location | London