fendi collaborates with luca guadagnino to create green fingered luxury
Gardeners’ World, but make it fashion.
Photography Mitchell Sams
“During these hectic, hyperconnected times, there’s a certain need to reset, a desire to return to simpler activities and to ground ourselves in a more tangible reality,” Silvia Venturini Fendi explained in a serene tree-covered enclave inside the Fendi spring/summer 20 men’s show venue, the gardens of the Villa Reale. “It’s something I’ve felt in my personal life and this is a reaction to the pace of modern life,” she added. From Jonathan Anderson’s mindful meditations to Francesco Risso’s celebrations of craft, this push-back on 2019 life is a feeling that has rippled through recent seasons. Here, Silvia Venturini turned to longtime friend, frequent collaborator and director Luca Guadagnino to help explore our relationship with nature.
Offering an escape from our infinite scroll reality (and the accelerating conveyor belt of shows, presentations and product launches that we call fashion week) Luca and Silvia Venturini turned the Fendi spring/summer 20 catwalk into a stroll through the garden, an opportunity for us all to reconnect with nature. It was a reminder to put down our phones and run our fingers -- clad in chic leather gardening gloves, of course -- through the earth, to rediscover simpler pursuits and to see the complex beauty of nature. “There’s nothing more simple, or so complex, as nature,” she explained as she gestured towards the evergreen beauty that surrounded her post-show. “I feel at peace and there’s a definite sense of being recharged when I’m immersed in nature, whether that be through gardening or walking.” Throughout the show, birds tweeted between the piano strokes of acclaimed Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. “When we were working on the collection, I was thinking about gardeners, travel writer Bruce Chatwin and the music of Sakamoto. Here, he remixed sounds from 20 years ago, from his Back to Basics album, and that’s just what this collection is; back to basics,” she said. “It’s channelling the simple life, in a Fendi way of course.” Gardeners’ World, but make it fashion.
Following last season’s collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld -- after more than five decades of designing Fendi women’s, this saw his first and final men’s sketch before his passing. Ever since Silvia Venturini commissioned Luca to create a short film, entitled The First Sun that featured the men’s spring/summer 06 collection, the duo’s worlds have frequently orbited one another and seen the designer become an associate producer. From graphic prints and whimsical accessories to the art direction of the show location, casting, and show soundtrack, this was a true collaboration. “I love to share my work with the people that I love,” Silvia told us. “When I asked Luca backstage at the men’s show in January, we agreed that we should continue the narrative we began to explore when we first collaborated together back in 2005. Nature and family values are always present in both of our work. Here, it’s something personal, it’s how we spend our holidays,” she continued. “It was Luca who discovered this perfect place, a different set seen from the eyes of a cinematographer, to present a collection inspired by the botanical world, by gardening and by travellers,” she added.
Sketched by Luca during downtime on the set of Suspiria -- last year’s look-away-from-the-grossness supernatural horror that Silvia served as associate producer on -- a series of overlapping multicoloured line drawings formed the basis of the “Botanics for FENDI” prints that featured across ready-to-wear and accessories in an abstract melange of naïve checks and stripes. From soft cotton tailoring, drawstring nylon hold-all tote bags, light outerwear pieces, wool plaid picnic blankets and even a mesh Peekaboo bag too. As for the long silk shirts, they nodded to the Italian director’s memories of his childhood spent in Ethiopia.
Layered among garments inspired by the chic utility of gardening uniforms and the everyday-ness of denim, these collaborative pieces enhanced the dialogue of textures created by artisanal weaving and lattice-work techniques in straw, leather and knit. Further nods to the art of gardening appeared throughout the accessories collection, from woven raffia FF logo sunhats and FENDI gardening shoes, to bottle-opener keyrings featuring miniature rakes and pruning shears. Oh, and those leather clad watering cans too. Who hasn’t scrolled through the catwalk images and imagined Elio watering the plants using one while wearing a lattice sliced knit, striped trunks and croc Mary-Janes followed by Oliver, in the denim jumpsuit that closed the show, in the upcoming Call Me By Your Name sequel? Just us? Oh...
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.