What happens when Fendi and Versace come together for a secret Milan show? You get 'Fendace'!
What's fashion spelled out with a capital F and a capital V? 'Fendace'!
Last week, as Milan Fashion Week was in session, sweeping rumours of a Fendi x Versace collaboration reverberated through the fashion pipeline. Kim Jones had kicked off the week with his latest Fendi runway, while Donatella Versace presented a foulard-filled extravaganza on Friday. Subsequently, a select group of fashion editors reportedly received 'save the date' invites for a secret Milan show, but no one was certain what would be unveiled once the weekend was over.
Sure enough, in the courtyard of the Versace family palazzo, a joint star-studded show featuring house regulars and icons Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Gigi Hadid, and more, was revealed on Sunday night. What we got was Fendi by Versace and Versace by Fendi, as the two iconic fashion houses came together in a high fashion, cross-fertilisation swap, where Kim Jones, Silvia Venturini Fendi, and Donatella Versace interpreted each other's visions.
"It's a first in the history of fashion: two designers having a true creative dialogue that stems from respect and friendship. It led to us swapping roles to create these two collections," Donatella explained.
While this summer's Balenciaga x Gucci runway comes as part of an inter-company interaction (both are Kering brands), the Fendi and Versace partnership crossed the lines of luxury conglomerates as the brands are owned by LVMH and Capri Holdings respectively––making it all the more iconic.
Plenty of A-listers and esteemed friends of both Maisons––including Elizabeth Hurley, Demi Moore, Dua Lipa, Gossip Girl's Evan Mock, Oscar-winning director Luca Guadagnino and Chiara Ferragni––were in attendance, as the show opened with androgynous supermodel Kristen McMenamy in an all-black, body-hugging midi embellished with Versace's iconic safety pins.
Introducing Versace by Fendi, the first half of the show took place with a shiny Medusa emblem as the backdrop, as 25 designs were presented in an exploration of duality. The Fendi FF monogram fused with Versace's Grecian key motif across bomber jackets, sparkling minis, and relaxed tailoring, as garments metamorphosed to reveal hidden codes and craftsmanship. Fendi icons such as Amber Valetta, Kate Moss, and Naomi Campbell took to the stage alongside next-gen supers Precious Lee, Imaan Hammam, Lila Moss, and Paloma Elsesser before Kim Jones popped out to take a bow for his multigenerational embrace.
Suddenly, the massive Medusa head turned into Fendi's double-F logos and the Fendi by Versace segment began. Taking a more punk rock approach, Donatella Versace emphasised the to-hell-with-it disruption of the established order of things to introduce a youthfully rebellious take of the Fendi world. Safety pins proceeded to proliferate, while Baroque prints were splashed over Fendi monogram suits alongside rainbow-hued trenches and belted Y2K miniskirts realised in silk and faux denim patchwork. Closing off the show that topped it all, the inimitable Naomi Campbell came strutting down the spotlighted runway in a glittering pink dress to Drake's viral 'Way 2 Sexy' beat.
All in all, 'Fendace' speaks on the need for sincerity in fashion rather than strategy. With friendship, trust, and respect at the core of it all, a truly unique moment in fashion has taken place in celebration of two iconic houses to symbolise freedom, fun, and virtuosity. As Jones said, "Friends, idols, mentors... It's the beauty of togetherness"––after such prolonged periods of isolation, what more do we need than that?
Read more on the Spring/Summer 2022 show season here.