Let’s be clear: “Fendace” is not a collaboration. At least, not according to the creative minds behind Fendi and Versace.
For the finale of Milan’s Spring 2022 fashion week, the two luxury fashion houses joined forces to create “Fendace.” Not to be confused with a new celebrity couple à la Bennifer or Brangelina, the collections saw Fendi directors Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini Fendi design 25 Versace looks while Donatella Versace reciprocated with 25 Fendi ensembles.
Despite swirling rumours of a potential partnership, the mashup still came as a complete shock to many. Invitations provided no hint about what to expect as Versace’s summons ominously read, “Please join me for an intimate creative experience.” In fact, it wasn’t until the designers revealed themselves at the end of each other’s show that the audience fully comprehended what they had just experienced.
First to take the proverbial stage were the Fendi designers, as the Versace show opened with two icons— supermodel Kristen McMenamy in an ode to Elizabeth Hurley’s infamous all-black safety-pinned look. Gold and black garments were as far as the eye could see, as were Fendi’s geometric double F logo and Versace’s Grecian motif in the form of flashy patterns and jewellery.
Next was Fendi by Versace, which took a more colourful approach for the upcoming spring/summer season but continued with the logo-mania theme that has become synonymous with luxury house collaborations. Midriffs were the ultimate accessory as models strutted in crop tops and low-rise bottoms, and Versace insignia caps were the cherry on top.
For such an iconic moment in fashion history, the model lineup was possibly even more legendary. Both old and new faces returned to the runway in what felt like the best Fendi and Versace birthday party ever. Paloma Elsesser, Kate Moss, Amber Valletta, Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and Naomi Campbell added undeniable glamour and caché to the event (like it needed it!), and it was, to borrow the words of front row attendee Dua Lipa, “hotter than hell.”
While “Fendace” marks the first occasion that two major fashion houses owned by different conglomerates have swapped roles, they are by no means the first luxury designer pairing. Prada and Raf Simons ushered in this new era of fashion friendships back in February 2020. Then in April of 2021, Gucci and Balenciaga “hacked” one another for the Italian brand’s 100th anniversary.
Is this new addition to the collaboration hall of fame extremely entertaining? Absolutely, yes. But is this marketing exercise losing a bit of its lustre — also, yes. What makes these collections so enjoyable is their rarity: Their appeal lies in the surprise factor and overarching sense of rebellion. These team-ups, partnerships, “hackings” — call them what you will — play with conventional fashion rules and bring a sense of humour to an industry that has historically been resistant to making fun of itself. It is possible, after all, to have too much of a good thing.
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