Kim Jones made his debut as women’s artistic director of Fendi on Wednesday, stepping into the position left vacant after Karl Lagerfeld’s passing. And he kicked this new chapter off with the big leagues: haute couture.
This is not only the first collection Jones designs for Fendi (and first official foray into womenswear), it’s also his first-ever time working on couture. Speaking with Vogue U.K., he described this initial offering as “almost autobiographical”: “What I’m referencing feels really personal.”
Jones drew from Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and the Bloomsbury Set more broadly, as well as the Charleston farmhouse in East Sussex where they would meet for the Spring 2021 haute couture collection. (He grew up and recently bought a vacation home nearby, according to Vogue U.K.) He was also inspired by some of his muses that actually walked the Fendi runway on Wednesday: Kate Moss and daughter Lila, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and nephew James (because, yes, there was menswear), Adwoa Aboah and sister Kesewa, Bella Hadid, Cara Delevingne and Demi Moore. “Each look is about the personality who will be in it. That’s the luxury of couture, it’s designed specifically for the person,” he added.
The runway was filmed in Paris, at the historic stock exchange, Palais Brongniart. Models walked through an interlocking glass installation in the shape of the letter “F,” for Fendi, with bookshelves filled with rare books, manuscripts and ephemera relating to Woolf and the Bloomsbury Set, curated by Sammy Jay of Peter Harrington Rare Books.
The 19-look collection had sharp tailored separates, gauzy layered gowns, elegant evening wear decked with crystals and plenty of dramatic capes. Jones kept the color palette restrained, focusing on the embellishment and texture of the pieces, which were inspired by Orlando and the Charleston farmhouse. Then, there’s an homage to Lagerfeld, with the Karligraphy monograms that appeared in his final collection for Fendi coming back in the form of a beaded detail on the boots.
“Fendi represents artisanal quality of the highest order, and it is all about family,” Jones says, in the show notes. “It is in its third generation with a Fendi at its helm, and I am guest starring while bringing in the fourth. Here, I am surrounded by strong, powerful women who I love and respect, and want to bring their energy into what I do.”
See every single look from Kim Jones’ Fendi haute couture debut in the gallery, below.