Fendi, Capasa open a more relaxed Milan Fashion Week

MILAN – As Europe braced for winds from a possible war in Ukraine, the Italian fashion world carried on with a Milan Fashion Week that brought the return of Russian buyers after two years and the easing of pandemic travel restrictions.

An agreement with the government brokered by the Italian National Fashion Chamber allowed Russians who were vaccinated with the Sputnik V shot to enter the country if they were traveling for business and submitted to frequent rapid tests for the coronavirus.

They arrived for the first day of shows Wednesday as tensions built over Russia’s military intensions in Ukraine. Show invitations also were extended to Ukrainian buyers, but they did not attend, according to the fashion council.

Highlights from the mostly womenswear runway shows for next fall and winter:

FENDI MELDS CHIFFON WITH TWEEDS

Creative director Kim Jones packed the Fendi front row with VIPs who included Rita Ora and her partner, Oscar-winning screenwriter Taika Waititi, Swedish pop star Neneh Cherry and daughter Mabel, fashion influencers Chiara Ferragni and Leonie Hanne, and many more.

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The Friends of Fendi were decked out head-to-toe in the label’s designs. Their arrivals offered a parade of Fendi ready-to-wear, the likes of which is rarely seen off the runway.

The show before the show included soft intarsia furs, shearling-lined leather shorts with matching jackets, playful minidresses with open backs and long chiffony numbers. Structured heels on a mini-tower of double Fs and bags emblazoned with Fendi in raised golden letters completed the looks shown on this double runway.

Jones’ latest collection for Fendi interplayed chiffon sheers with tweeds, giving a playful edge to daytime and imbuing evening with a fresh sexiness. Jones said he took inspiration from two collections by the late Karl Lagerfeld that on the surface appear diametrically opposed: Spring-Summer 1986, which featured geometric prints and tailoring, and the sheer lightness of Autumn-Winter 2000.

For Fendi’s Autumn-Winter 2022 collection signed by Jones, chiffons are patchworked together with a ruffled exterior stitch into day dresses with matching bloomers, worn with cropped fur, or ruffle-edge tops with pants. Bright gloves or bags in orange, and grounded by seafoam green, offset the pastel tones.

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Black-and-white check trousers and a pencil skirt offered the first hint of structure, paired with chiffon tops and enveloped in a cloud of fur. The looks became more regimented with tight corsets worn over men’s shirts with feminine gathers.

Add-ons like big, belted flat pockets added a utilitarian flair that worked over chiffon dresses in conjunction with the corsets or as an embellishment to a skirt or trouser. As the color palette darkened into navy, brown and gray, Jones offered the same silhouettes in leather, tweed and denim. Some were softened with a chiffon ruffle detail along the seam.

Silvio Venturini Fendi designed the accessories, including three editions of the Fendi Baguette – in cashmere, shearling-lined leather and intarsia mink – to mark the bag’s 25th anniversary. Her daughter, Delfina Delettrez, designed the jewelry, including supersized monogrammed ear cuffs.

Jones said Deletrez’s appearance at Fendi headquarters wearing a geometric print blouse from her mother’s closet inspired the new collection’s archival deep dive.

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“It’s a wardrobe designed for every aspect of a woman’s life, for every generation,’’ Jones said.

CAPASA COLLECTION ZERO

Ennio Capasa took the fashion crowd backstage, behind the ermine curtain of the Arcimboldi Theater for Collection 0 of his new fashion venture bearing his family name.

Capasa, whose brother Carlo is the president of Milan’s fashion council, is well-known in fashion circles for his influential Costume National brand, which he abandoned six years ago as financial partnerships went awry. Even Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri showed up for a front row seat at Capasa’s runway return.

“Intervals are an incredible luxury because they afford the distance to observe what you want to keep, what you want to leave,’’ Capasa said before the show as models received their finishing touches nearby. “I understood that I wanted to keep the timeless tailoring. Many of my friends call to say, ‘Your jackets are still very modern.’ And I wanted to keep that. But I left some of the rigidity that belonged to that time, to the 1990s.”

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While his former brand had a uniform quality, strong on deconstructed tailoring in black and white, Capasa said he wanted the Capasa brand to recognize the drastically changed times by creating more individualistic looks.

The collection included looks such as a mini double-breasted pea coat to appeal to members of Gen Z as well as Gen-Xers and beyond. Overcoats featured a striking leather strap and buckle cinched diagonally at chest level.

The collection was strongly influenced by 1970s music, from rock to disco. It featured David Bowie-style suits with broad shoulders, androgynous tunics and wrap dresses that had a faint disco vibe, especially when paired with silver boots. Capasa used a touch more color- there were purple suits, details in mustard yellow and bright Kelly green – than he did during his Costume National days,

The line between menswear and womenswear was fluid. The jewelry reflected the sort of individuality seen on the street, none the same, and each just a bit off-kilter, including body chains or applied crystals instead of tops, and earrings that stuck out like ledges with softly reverberating silver fringe.

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