THERE IS a sense of freedom in the air. The sentiment to get away is one we are all sharing currently and for Silvia Venturini Fendi this idea found itself in the heart of the Fendi spring-summer 2023 menswear collection. Approaching this season like a ‘round-the-world ticket to holiday destinations near and far’ the idea to reimagine the classic man’s wardrobe staples was executed through utilising an array of techniques and to introduce embellishments that mimic souvenir tropes.
Explaining her holiday infused collection in the show notes, the Creative Director stated “It’s about a balance of decoration and simplicity. An ageless sense of freedom to play, as we rediscover the luxury of free time”.
Carefully curating a sense of familiarity within this updated aesthetic through referencing nostalgia while wanting to pursue innovation, familiar silhouettes and materials are evocative of this timeless freedom as we recognise the beauty in what we already know.
The 53-look collection began with a strong focus on denim. Though Fendi are obviously not the first to utilise the beauty in this fabric, the mundane associations with this material on a runway was a clever juxtaposition that proposed both a sense of reality and fantasy into the Italian brand’s SS23 escape.
Rediscovering this familiar textile through an elevated perspective, denim is found in 5-pocket cut jeans, ultralight frayed shorts and distressed trompe l’peil print on robes as well weaving its way into accessories to add a casual touch to the rigid savoir-faire of Fendi’s ateliers.
Beyond the clever utilisation of denim, this more bohemian flare to Fendi menswear is more noticeable the closer you look at the clothes. Soft fringing, tassels, terry towelling and beaded daisy chains are all design signifiers to this freedom the designer is trying to imbue to the wearer.
Liberation was even found in the more traditional assets to SS23 as suiting had dissected shoulders and side-vents adorned with the O’Lock zip, poplin shirts were cut with a boxier shape in mind and wide, wool trousers were panelled with calfskin pooled around the ankles for a more languid vibe.
Other seminal signifiers of this warm escapism were the swirling weather patterns found on thermographic coats and a nod to the rustic countryside with cowhide motifs making ordinary pieces into statement garments.
And so as we enter our first summer post-pandemic, this yearning for escapism is a feeling we all share. Translating that into the Fendi SS23 collection could have been gimmicky but rather Silvia Venturini’s continual knack for never straying too far from her family’s aesthetic and pushing menswear forward, the holiday she envisions with this wardrobe is one I think we all want to go on.