Fendi’s latest “Icons” ad campaign lensed by Yvan Fabing venerates four of the luxury brand’s signature items: the Peekaboo bag, the Baguette bag, the Colibri heel, and the FF Boot. By declaring these items “icons” the brand is smartly re-capitalizing core cash cows at a time when each fashion house must leverage their strengths, in order to sail through the current economic storm unscathed. However the word “icon” carries a hefty weight, no matter which definition you choose… and it is unclear whether the word is being used to describe symbolic emblems of the fashion house, or objects of uncritical devotion.
The bags and shoes are counterbalanced by young women in fishnets of black or flesh-tone variety. Plump in the right places and svelte everywhere else, they look a bit bored, and sometimes even slightly annoyed that they must stand around like life-sized dolls or living display racks for the accessories. Their blasé attitudes dovetail nicely with the stompy FF Boots, which recall rebellious grunge aesthetics of the early 90’s, and give the impression that the models were allowed to be their natural pouty selves… rather than being forced to appear happy about having to stand around in their underwear all day. After all, what women in their teens or early twenties really want to loiter about being ogled in their underwear all day long? The young women’s resigned forbearance combined with flash cuts and crescendo synths give the film a pleasing tension, and looks fantastic in the still photography as well. Kudos to the styling by Chaos, co-founded by Katie Lyall and Charlotte Stockdale, whose intimate involvement with the Fendi brand translates to an overall tone that is complex and on point.
Though the male models bearing Fendi bags are less successful, due in part to discordant boxy rompers, it doesn’t really matter because the young women are clearly the jewels in this crown. What about the “iconic” bags and shoes, you might ask? The Peekaboo and Baguette bags are indeed emblematic, and well-turned in the campaign imagery. Ditto for the FF boots, which could garner votes for icon status as well. As for the Colibri heel… in these times of self-isolation and working from home, high-heeled shoes feel like a throw-back to another era. However, they do look fetching with those fishnets! So we will put them into the “icon” category of “objects of uncritical devotion” and call it a day.