fendi puts the camp in camping

The brand's SS20 collection was a tribute to the great

by Osman Ahmed
20 September 2019, 11:21pm

In an unlikely twist of events in Milan, Barbara Windsor was the muse for Fendi’s SS20 show. No, not her turn as Peggy Mitchell off Eastenders. It was the dame’s scantily-clad character in Carry On Camping that caught the eye of Silvia Venturini Fendi, who referenced the 1969 British film, as well as Bette Davis in The Anniversary, in which the eye-patched actress plays a vicious yet utterly elegant bourgeois mother who torments her adult sons.


So Mrs Fendi’s show — the first she had designed independently since the passing of Karl Lagerfeld — was full of delicious contradictions that nodded to the polar-opposite attitudes of cheeky youthful Babs and mean-chic grand dame Bette. There were rainproof coats and luscious suedes; bikinis and suede coats; classic neutrals and vivid colours; flower-power prints and the muted domestic ginghams they rebelled against. There was a sense of humour here, a confident lightness that she seems to be relishing given her newfound independence.


Her vision here was of Fendi in the great outdoors, which she also explored in the brand’s SS20 menswear show, a gardening-themed collaboration with director Luca Guadagnino. As with that show, the clothes were far too chic for muddying. This collection, by comparison, was much more playful. It put the camp in camping, ending with The 5th Dimension’s stargazing psych classic “Age of Aquarius.” There were quilted cotton pieces and cargo jackets borrowed from utilitarian camping gear. There were slinky body-conscious numbers — chain-linked knits worn with swimwear underneath — and nudge-nudge-wink-wink chiffon panels on jackets and skirts. Fendi’s baguette bag — the bag of the moment — was shrunk to minuscule proportions and slung around the neck — all the better for being hands-free to pitch a tent.


This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

Milan Fashion Week