Fendi kicks off holiday season with its SS23 menswear show

Replete with rich textures, subtle trompe l’oeil details and subversive suiting, Silvia Venturini Fendi’s latest collection was her earthiest yet.

by Mahoro Seward
18 June 2022, 7:05pm

Images via Gorunway.com

Holidays. It’s a theme you’re likely to hear a lot about over the SS23 season, with – as you’ve probably clocked if you’ve been to an airport of late – everybody seeming to have caught the travel bug en masse. No less affected than any of the rest of us, of course, are designers, with the prospects of no longer having to just dream of jetting off, but actually being able to do so, proffering a flurry of vacation-minded clothes to usher in this new age of free travel. 

That was certainly the sentiment that pervaded the menswear collection that Silvia Venturini Fendi presented today in a Milan so scorching it felt like a tropical locale unto itself. “Approaching summer dressing as a round-the-world ticket to holiday destinations near and far,” as the show notes, it was a body of work imbued with a breezy joie de vivre – boxy, long-lined peak-lapelled blazers in sandy beige and Mediterranean blue were sported by bucket-hat-toting, bare-chested boys wearing louche, wide-leg wool trousers and loose kaftan shirst were decorated with needlepoint floral embroideries, bringing cheery splashes of kitsch. 

Sunny as the collection’s general disposition was, far go that to say that it was explicitly resort-y. What buoyed it was a rich tactility that bespoke a real sense of handwork, which made itself felt across the tufted fringes of indigo denim hats, mini & midi-shorts and even iconic Baguette bags; the stormy-sky-toned brushstrokes painted across brushed mohair knit sweaters and sumptuous fleece coats; and casual silk trenches in bleached-out cow prints, the brown of which revealed itself to be a faded Fendi monogram print upon closer inspection. 

In this sense, this was perhaps the most earthy, bohemian collection that we’ve seen from Silvia in some time. Where recent collections have seen the Fendi matriarch unpick and subvert the fundamentals of traditional masculine dress codes with aplomb – think: SS22’s cropped, ab-bearing suiting that basically ushered in last year’s hot-boy summer, and then AW22’s reimaging of what the early Modernist dandy would look like today – these felt more like elevated versions of the sort of clothes you might see on a salty-haired Californian surfer or a chic Glasto-goer – clothes that you could immediately transpose into real-world contexts. 

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Still, that subversive edge still cut through, with some of the collection’s ostensibly more ‘plain’ pieces subtly deconstructed or recontextualised. On single-breasted blazers and simple gabardine macs, a notch appeared where the sleeve would usually join to the shoulder, with the seams of these classically masculine garments unpicked. Chunky metal necklaces were in fact intricate daisy chains, and then there was the stonewashed denim hoodie which on closer inspection revealed itself to be a trompe l’oeil print on fine cotton fleece. 

This playful flitting between initial perceptions and a reality that later reveals itself speaks to the enticing subtlety that defined the collection. Rather than fashion for bare-it-all hot boys, these were clothes for enigmatic, chill dudes.

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All images via Gorunway.com

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