Imagine if Cristobal Balenciaga had designed menswear. That's some kind of crazy pipe dream. After all, Balenciaga couldn't even stand the notion of ready-to-wear. But down Fendi's catwalk came a drop-shouldered, three-quarter-length-sleeved coat that wouldn't have looked half bad on Audrey Hepburn (the most famous client of Balenciaga's most famous assistant, Hubert de Givenchy), and suddenly, it was a moment for pipe dreams. "Everyone's looking at couture for cuts and volumes," Silvia Venturini Fendi said backstage, but she also acknowledged the essential perversity of that thought as it applied to menswear.
Still, transgression has been the spice in Fendi's menswear for at least as long as stylist Alister Mackie has been working on the collection with Silvia. This time around, the willful spirit prevailed in a juxtaposition as stark as a tuxedo jacket top and a jogging pant bottom, or a shaggy fur poncho/coat that looked like a prop from Grey Gardens. Fendi's long track record with luxurious illusion meant that there was fur that looked like fabric and fabric that looked like fursheared Persian lamb made a shirt, a blouson, even a trenchcoat. The ribbing on a tunic was actually marmot, while the furry fuzz on a coat was in reality angora. A self-assured style hound might feel comfortable with a male twinset comprised of a rollneck and cardigan dotted with tiny old gold coins, while those more at home in the realm of the familiar would likely gravitate toward a lean pea coat or sharply tailored double-breasted suits that had a Gattaca edge to them. But there was something so enthrallingly over-the-top about the whole collection that even these straightforward items were touched with fever.