"Normality is the new eccentricity." That's the kind of definitive declaration that makes us love Silvia Venturini Fendi, because she so instantly set about deconstructing it with the clothes she showed. Sure, the catwalk was a banal brown, and the building blocks of the collection were the essential elements of a very traditional man's wardrobe. And there is no disputing the commercial truth of Silvia's conviction that luxury has to have a shelf life beyond the whims of one season. But at the same time, she can't help herself when it comes to menswear. She just wants to unhinge every male certitude.
Take that legendary Fendi bag. Silvia is perversely proposing that a man carry a tiny clutch purse. (Okay, there's a sense of humor at workshe also sent sturdy messenger bags and a valise or two down the catwalk. But we know Fendi's heart is in the weirdness.) Getting back to those elements of tradition. A gray flannel coat was spectacularly deconstructed with an asymmetric swoosh of fabric, like an attached shawl thrown over one shoulder. The same principle governed a loose suede coat that swung open in a pagan sweep. Ranked against such exercises in excess was a fur-collared navy coat with neat little epaulettes, so classically precise as to have stepped straight out sixties sci-fi. Likewise, a camel blazer, or a military cape, the very essence of restraint, draped over brown slacks and croc loafers.
DJ John Gosling's soundtrack only added to the proposition, particularly Supermayer's take on Rufus Wainwright's "Tiergarten," a remix so decadently gorgeous that it injects an outré quality into every item of clothing it accompanies. It's hard to escape the suspicion that, despite the luxe connotations that attach to the name of Fendi, the label's menswear is just Silvia's merry sandbox. But we're happy to play.