Fendi’s three dimensions, two lengths

Fendi’s Spring Summer 2013 ready-to-wear collection is a great feat of Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi. Notions of spatial geometry and dimensionality are fused with the house’s traditional and time-honoured skills in a very intelligent way.

Fendi’s garments and accessories traditionally have an artisanal touch applied to every single item. In this collection for the house’s 87th anniversary they are using a technique called ‘saldatura’ to bind materials with a kind of electrical welding, instead of stitching, which is still done by hand – almost as if they are bringing ‘hand-made’ notions into the digital-era.

As for inspiration Lagerfeld sites the Sistine Chapel frescos, more specifically for the shared use of perspective: the black and coloured borders framing the inner panels gave them a 3-dimensional quality, but there was also a 2-dimensional layering of architectural shapes and multiple lengths – “Three dimensions, two lengths” as Mr Lagerfeld put it.

The accessories had a kind of sculptural and playful aesthetic to them. Some of the upper panels of footwear come as a kit of parts, that allows the end-user to assemble them, Lego-like and again places an emphasis on the hand-made quality. Some of the handbags remind us of Rubik’s cubes. (see above).

Finally what makes it such a graphic collection are the large interlocking F’s of the Fendi logo on some of the jackets (not pictured) and the interesting colour palette. The colours make references to the colour theory of Josef Albers. One of the studies visible in the collection is the ‘relativity of colour’ – a theory that investigates how the same colour can be made to appear as two different colours. In the Albers example above the ochre square is the same colour at the top as at the bottom, but it appears as two different colours – lighter at the top and much darker, almost brown at the bottom and no normal human eye is able to see both squares alike.

This means that using the same colours in different contexts and garments will give them new meaning and this results in immense versatility and intellectual depth in the collection.

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