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Fendi: Insouciant Chic

Godfrey Deeny
February 26th, 2010 @ 00:10 AM - Milan

How will elegant women dress this fall? Judging from the latest collection by Fendi, it will be in voluminous layers of majestic fabrics, billowing shapes anchored on the ground by exotic galoshes and faux rubber boots.

We were welcomed to a new sort of fashion naturalism Thursday, Feb. 25, in Milan, where the Fendi fall 2010 women’s ready-to-wear collection was crowded with giant patchwork coats, jackets and vests, worn over either super tight leggings or a series of beautiful platforms and high-heels finished to look like stout country boots.

“I call them fake galoshes,” joked Karl Lagerfeld, after taking his bow with fellow creative director Silvia Fendi.

The shoes and boots came with rubber capped toes, their sides made in leather or suede cut in strips to look like corduroy, their tops finished with miniature laces. They were strikingly original, will surely become fashion insider best-sellers and will be highly influential next autumn. This is one of the reasons why, in fashion terms, shows like Fendi are so important. Fendi may be an elite brand, only affordable by the wealthy, but its creativity and imagination is so strong, this brand sets style trends worldwide.

Often the coolest looks were the most simple, an astrakhan coat thrown on insouciantly and anchored by a white leather belt, tied up nonchalantly, and paired with a great new boxy clutch handbag, finished with small bright feathers, once again an idea that will be picked up all over the globe.

Throughout, the colors seemed fresh and painterly – mustard yellows, burnished purples and soft violets.

“They are the colors of Edward Hopper,” added Lagerfeld, referring to the American pre-war painter. “We saw this wonderful exhibition of his work in Rome and wanted that unique coloration in the collection.”

Elements of the French architect Le Corbusier ran through the show, from the miniature stone backdrop that recalled his crude walls to the linear finish of many clothes, like the brilliant finale, where cocktail dresses and evening coats were made of alternating strips of mink and see-thru mesh.

These were clothes that the models clearly reveled in wearing, from the cut out double cape in slate gray over puckered suede leggings worn by Australian model Abbey Lee to the stunning lynx coat on Danish cat walker Freja Beha. The latter was a recession-free moment; the coat will cost 200,000 euros, or about $272,408, at retail.

“We buy the lynx from the Russians, so we work on it and then sell it back to some other Russians,” joked Silvia Fendi backstage, as she pointed out the coat on the look board with a photo of each model in their various looks.

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