Fendi opens Milan Fashion Week with disco-glam-inspired womenswear – think exaggerated lapels, shimmering satin dresses and other classic 1970s styles

A model wears a creation by Fendi as part of the women’s spring/summer 2022 collection presented during Fashion Week in Milan in September. Photo: AFP

Italy’s fashion capital is again alive with the sound of shoppers swarming boutiques and editors filling socially distanced fashion week venues, a sign of a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.

Milan Fashion Week opened on Wednesday, September 22, with 42 live runway shows and 56 in-person presentations, the biggest presence yet since the pandemic struck Italy 19 months ago, smack dab during fashion week. Adding digital presences, 146 brands are taking part in six days of mostly womenswear previews.

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Fendi’s spring/summer 2022 collection featured exaggerated lapels, shimmering dresses and other classic ’70s silhouettes. Photo: AP

Signs of recovery are also evident in Milan’s largest department store, the recently renovated Rinascente, where foreigners are spending six times what they spent in 2020 when receipts plunged some 70 per cent.

In a clear signal that Italy remains dear to the hearts of Chinese consumers, exports to that country have nearly doubled during the pandemic, to nearly US$7 billion from a pre-pandemic US$3.7 billion, according to the Italian National Fashion Chamber, spending at home at least part of what they once would have spent during trips abroad to Italy.

Australian-Sudanese model Adut Akech rocks a black outfit with matching bralette top. Photo: AFP

The 1970s echoed down the Fendi runway, with prints, motifs and colours carried by modern silhouettes, during the second collection by womenswear creative director Kim Jones.

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Fendi designer Kim Jones brought 1970s disco-glam-inspired looks to Milan Fashion Week. Photo: AP

The looks were pop-star glamorous, with big intarsia fur coats and knee-topping boots worn with miniskirts and sheepskin lined short shorts. For daytime glam, a candyfloss pink satin cropped pink jacket was paired with wide-legged trousers.

Body hugging lace in blacks and browns were part of Fendi’s new women’s collection. Photo: AFP

More modestly, silky pantsuits were dramatically trailed by diaphanous capes. Kaftans were decorated with chocolatey swirls that were actually a hand-sketched Fendi logo that Jones found in the archives. A satiny, strapless evening gown in diagonal stripes flowed with flower-child angel wings. Structured architectural jackets revealed a sensuality. Trousers, by contrast, were flowing.

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Fendi’s new designs are a nod to the peak of Studio 54 and 1970s disco glamour. Photo: AFP
Jones said that he was going for an updated Studio 54 vibe from the height of the disco era, as he considered both the legacy of his storied predecessor, the late Karl Lagerfeld, and the era when he first made it big.
Models strutted down the runway in white monochrome tailored suits with exaggerated lapels and wide leg trousers. Photo: AFP

“Our woman has let loose a bit – she is going out, dressing up. We’ve all been locked away for so long that I think that’s what we all need right now,” Jones said, calling his Fendi “multi-generational … for all different kinds of women”.

Kim Jones chose a colour palette of soft pinks and blues before moving to browns and black for evening wear. Photo: AFP

A white monochrome gave way to pastels, bright pinks and purples, toned-down gold and finally black, accented by sheers and sequins. Hair was wound into a tight bun or frizzed-out, perhaps accented by golden heart hairslide, lightly folded like butterfly wings.

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The slicked back middle parts and ’70s waves were also a part of the ‘70s glam look. Photo: AFP

The bag of the season encircled the shoulder or wrist, with Fendi emblazoned in gold raised lettering on the underside. Larger shoppers featured images of two women, one black, one white, like a 1970s album cover.

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  • Milan Fashion Week opened with the biggest presence since the pandemic struck Italy, while Chinese consumers have spent almost double on Italian fashion since
  • Artistic director Kim Jones considered his predecessor Karl Lagerfeld’s legacy and went for an updated Studio 54 vibe for his ‘multi-generational’ pieces