Fendi’s SS22 menswear is bringing back bare midriffs for boys

Inspired by aerial views of Rome, Silvia Fendi’s SS22 menswear collection heralds the return of abs-olutely fabulous crop tops for men.

by Osman Ahmed
20 June 2021, 5:08pm

Here’s a sweeping prediction for the SS22 menswear season: fashion is horny. Okay, that may not be technically true of all of it, but the customers of luxury brands (or any brands, for that matter) most certainly are. In fact, who isn’t? Sex made a comeback in the recent AW21 womenswear collections — all strappy, slinky dresses and bare skin — so it’s only inevitable that it would pay a visit to the much more traditional world of menswear, too. Enter Fendi’s menswear that offers a sartorial solution for our hot vax summer ahead: midriff-baring garments for guys. 

Fendi was all about the abs flex. There’s no two ways about it. Abbreviated tailoring, crop tops, neat little suits of torso-length jackets and boxer shorts. Menswear designers are always trying to find ways of hitting refresh on the tailored two-piece suit. This was one of the boldest attempts to emerge from oh-so-traditional Italy in years; a nation of the most exquisitely-carved marble torsos known to civilisation. 

A couple of the crop-top looks came with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it waist chains with miniscule Fendi baguettes, and you know what? They’re really sexy. In fact, they feel more sensual and erotic than going topless. There's something about a scantily-clad body that feels more suggestive than an entirely naked one (just ask Manet’s Olympia). Besides, the crop top was once a menswear staple for men of all sexualities, but sometime in the 90s it disappeared and never really quite made a comeback (here’s our full history of men wearing crop tops). Here’s to hoping this heralds in it’s new era.  

Silvia Fendi said that her show, which was staged at Fendi’s Rome HQ and directed by filmmaker Nico Vascellari, was inspired by looking out from her window on the top floor at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana and seeing an aerial view of the seven hills of Rome, the Apennine mountains and glimpses of the Tyrrhenian Sea. “Our singular point of view in this period has modified our perception of the world — and mine has become so linked to what I see from the arches and the rooftop of our building,” she said. “It is almost like a bird’s eye view of Rome from here. The colours and the perspective are always changing — the soft palette of the Roman sky across the day is so beautiful and I wanted it to be a focal point of this collection.”

That would explain the soothing sunset tones, and prints and featherlight intarsias crafted from loom-spun knitted shearling, made to resemble aerial views of land and inky nighttime contours, almost as if viewed from an airplane (remember those?). An illustrated map of Rome plucked from the Fendi archive became a cartographic print, with the Palazzo Fendi at the centre and the Tiber river flowing through the ancient labyrinth of buildings and monuments. From Silvia’s view, the Holy City looked small, which is what led to a “distortion of scale”. In other words, crop tops! They may be small, but their impact on the wider aerial view of menswear will be big. This was a collection of blue-sky thinking for Fendi. 

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