"The world is heating up and I need to feel a little bit cold," Silvia Venturini Fendi mused. It's not exactly the "heroic human needs for life in extreme conditions" that the notes for her show exalted, but Silvia has been feeling Scandinavia lately. Or, to be more specific, Iceland, even if its place under the Scandinavian umbrella is not exactly secure. No matter, it's the relationship between the people and nature that Silvia loves, as well as the scorn for materialism and the discerning taste that evolves when you learn to value the little you've got. Educated palates might have discerned that the drinks and canapés served during the presentation tasted well and truly foraged in the wild. Everyone else was merely flummoxed.
Fortunately, the Icelandic subtext didn't impose itself on the clothes quite so divisively. In a season of oversize coats, a fisherman's cape was an exotic option, especially when rendered in a patchworked astrakhan, or yeti shagginess. The wildness of those pieces was tempered in the heavy knits, the raw felts, the coarse nubbles of a topcoat, the way a sweater was patched into an argyle pattern, or oiled leather was fused with wool in a hoodie. Hoods were actually a leitmotif, inspired, said Silvia, by Icelandic fishermen's coats. The translucent soles on the shoes were intended to evoke slivers of ice. The fur boots were clearly closer to the collection's cold heart.
As is often the case with Fendi, the concept pieces were surrounded by a collection of artfully normal items such as slimly tailored suits and some splendid topcoats. Scarcely the kind of things that would appeal to a man who scorned materialism. But he might like the context: the foraged food, and the live soundtrack by electronic musician (and Björk collaborator) Matthew Herbert, who mixed rhythms very economically out of the sound of the models as they marched, like a surreal step class, up, down, and sideways through the stairway-ed set. And our man might also find a curiously kindred spirit in Silvia herself. The walkways of the Fendi show space reminded her of the bridge on a fishing trawler, but she also fancied those walkways crowded with doctors and scientists. "Science is the next big thing for me," said she. "Scientists are going to be the next rock stars."