Images courtesy of Fendi

fendi couture does lil' kim

All was not as it seemed on the catwalk.

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05 July 2018, 11:51pm

Images courtesy of Fendi

Fashion has fallen out of love with furs. Gucci went fur-free first, sparking a frenzy from other houses such as Versace and Michael Kors to go fur-free -- and even fast-fashion lines like Asos have gone as far as to stop selling silk and cashmere.

That’s not quite the case for Fendi, but that’s down to fact that the house was built on fur and the myriad ways to use it. However, the Italian brand isn’t just staying still -- it’s tuning its antennae to the times by dropping the emphasis on haute fourrure and becoming good old-fashioned haute couture.

The set was a minimal white box with the Roman Fendi HQ arches echoed by the logo. Like most places in Paris this week, there was no air conditioning combined with blinding flashbulbs and a crowd of people.

Nevertheless, whereas most people would be fanning themselves energetically or gulping down water, Fendi’s clients were preternaturally cool in chubby fox fur jackets with ribbon fastenings and sheared-mink coats. In July!

Does the nature-bending craftsmanship of Fendi’s ateliers mean fur really can be cooling in 30-degree heat? Those craftsmen can do anything! Although I’m guessing that is not exactly it. What it really reasserted was how dedicated the 0.001% are to the controversial material. They love it. All those brands going fur-free? Well, all the more clients for Fendi.

But Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi challenged the perceptions of fur-free clothes for that audience. It wasn’t all about fur -- in fact, it was really about glimmering, elegant eveningwear sans fur coat. Even when it appeared to be about fur, it was so masterfully conceived that it was difficult put a finger on it. A neatly tailored caramel astrakhan skirt suit, for instance, that upon close inspection was made of embellished micro sequins with all the luscious swirl of the real thing.

The Trompe l’Oeil is-it-or-isn’t-it elements were scattered throughout the collection, which was inspired by Orphism, an offshoot of cubism pioneered by none other than Sonia Delaunay, the Ukrainian-born artist and designer whose work is a lodestone for Karl Lagerfeld.

Elsewhere, there were Vienna Secession swirls and exquisite lacework motifs with hand-painted embroidery that inspired awe. It was quite grown-up Lil’ Kim, decades on from that notorious MTV Awards moment. Now that’s a couture client I’d love to see.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.