There is sometimes a sense with Fendi's spring collections that the house is treading water before Karl Lagerfeld's exuberant imagination truly lets rip for its highly furred, inventive fall shows. This fresh collection, however, seemed to signal a new creative energy for the season.
The overscale lace patterns that filtered the backdrop's glowing pink light and shadowed the length of the runway, together with the influence of Lagerfeld muse Amanda Harlech, who was dressed backstage in a turn-of-the-century Irish lace bolero (which the designer found in a vintage store in Biarritz), pointed to a new light touch. Blooming tulip and poodle skirts, and blouses with built-in fichu capes, were made in crisp white piqué, eyelet, lace, and dotted Swiss cotton and given a pastry chef's flourish of spiraling ruffles or lettuce-edged flounces. Less-conventional treatments included laser-cut doily decoration on gleaming white patent, three-dimensional honeycomb appliqués, tremblant embroideries like clusters of wisteria blooms, and, this being Fendi, after all, dresses with their hems cuffed in pastel-colored fox, worked to seem as light as powder puffs.
And there was a reason for those gigantically buckled belts that cinched dresses high under the bust or skirts low on the hip; they mirrored the buckles on the new B. Fendi bag. Whence the name? "B for buckle, b for belt, b for bagB. Fendi!" laughed Harlech backstage.