Milan Women’s Fashion Week S/S 2019 Part 2

Fendi and Salvatore Ferragamo

Fendi S/S 2019

How does a big fashion house stay relevant? Take the case of Fendi. The house thrives in markets like Russia and China because fur is considered a status symbol for women there. They literally crave fur. So no surprise, Fendi can sell a lot of its exquisite fur coats there and other very cold and Northern countries. That’s what we call bread and butter business but is not the formula to stay relevant. The key factor is fashion leadership. Setting trends, showing new things, being first. And that’s exactly what Karl Lagerfeld did yesterday for Fendi. A directional and design-focused collection playing with volumes and shapes in the best materials. And not all was fur.

What we liked the best?

Fendi’s version of streetwear. The giant pockets often in brown leather or part of the garment looked cool. Also, cargo pants with multi pockets and parkas.

A collection of looks from FENDI SS19

Fendi SS19 element: The big pocket

The return of the original It bag

Fendi’s Baguette bag is probably on the curriculum of fashion schools all over the world in design and merchandising classes. It was the first proper It bag in 1997 in became the template for what every house craves now. Silvia Venturini Fendi felt like bringing it back in a bigger version and worn differently. Not tucked under arm but more like a cross body bag.

Details of the Baguette bag from FENDI SS19

Fendi’s Baguette bag reinterpreted

The geometry of Fendi?

There is always a play with geometry at Fendi with trapeze and triangle shapes all worked with embroidery and printing.

A selection of looks from FENDI SS19

Geometric shapes and motifs at Fendi SS19 collection

Karl on fur?

After working for the house for more than half a century, Lagerfeld is a real expert on animal skins and furs. With Burberry and Gucci announcing that they are leaving the fur business, we asked if there is a trend happening. “I think those houses never had a fur business so it’s easy for them to renounce it. In our world of luxury, the animals are treated and killed with respect to the evolution. Fake fur based on petroleum is much more an issue with regard to pollution,” Lagerfeld set the record straight.

A selection of looks from FENDI SS19

Fur looks from Fendi SS19 collection

Salvatore Ferragamo S/S 2019

Yes, it’s a trend. Accessory designers helming big brands like Valentino, Dior, Mulberry and now Salvatore Ferragamo. Paul Andrew came on board in September 2016 to make the shoes and bags, and then got promoted to be lead designer in October 2017. And a new Ferragamo has emerged only one year later. From the stunning new ad campaign by photographer Harley Weir featuring Stella Tennant, Shanelle Nyasiase, Rianne van Rompaey, Xiao Wen Ju, Piero Mendez and Edoardo Sebastianelli to his first two modern runway shows.

Andrew understands image very well, it’s about casting the right models to project an image of modernity and Zeitgeist and not about casting the most expensive models like the past Ferragamo campaigns did. Even better, Andrew understands that he needs a team around him so his men’s design partner Guillaume Meilland is given full credit and freedom to execute the men’s. Even while it was Andrew who decided to make it a co-ed runway he is happily sharing the spotlight with Meilland. Hence a humble designer and fast learner, Andrew has changed the house rather quickly after the disastrous last show from designer Fulvio Rigoni where a huge production was mounted outside the traditional Borsa show space to simultaneously introduce a new fragrance. It was a bombastic flop back then and forced the family to take tough decisions on strategy and staffing. So let’s talk about the new duo’s latest runway outing.

A team: Paul Andrew (left) and Guillaume Meilland (right)

Why this is a good team?

Meilland came from Lanvin where in our opinion the most fashion forward men’s collections have been coming from even while the house is in trouble. Meilland had proper training and Andrew gives his design partner proper breathing space and cleverly anchoring the women’s core pieces in men’s like cognac blazers and coats.

A selection of looks from Salvatore Ferragamo SS19

Synergy between women’s and men’s SS19 collections

How leather stays relevant?

By infusing bold colors like violet, Caribbean blue, bright red and burnt orange. Look number 18, a coral blue knee length leather coat worn with a buttoned up shirt and purple suede boots was a stunner. Andrew stands for a clear and upbeat palette. Or the black leather dungarees worn with nothing else on Binx looked hip and seductive in the finale.

Looks #18 and 62 from the Salvatore Ferragamo SS19 show

Looks #18 and #62 from the Salvatore Ferragamo SS19 show

The bread and butter?

The knee-high, perforated boots for women looked new as well as the mens’ rubber desert boots in hand-woven leather. What a relief to not see riffs on luxury sneakers here.

Hand-woven footwear from the Salvatore Ferragamo SS19 women’s and men’s collections

What stood out in men’s wear?

Meilland’s full volume slouchy pants moved easily and details like leather bonding on top of jeans and leather cuffed T-shirts paid tribute to the leather heritage of the house but felt new.

Shapes and details from the Salvatore Ferragamo men’s SS19 collection

What didn’t work?

Weirdly the first look on Stella Tennant and the last look on Carolyn Murphy were simply not working. The slightly trapeze, full length skirt paired with a T-shirt looked heavy while Murphy in a see-through pants and flowing black silk number skewed heavy evening wear. Those are looks that a master women’s designer might be able to pull off but not yet Andrew.


Stella Tennant (left) and Carolyn Murphy (right)