The Fendi formula – artisanship, exotics, the unexpected cut and the artful concept – works wonderfully for women. Yet when applied to menswear, the method isn’t quite the same. There’s an off-ness, a dart flung well wide of the bull’s-eye. That wayward dart continued with the house’s spring/summer 2014 lineup. What was meant to be hot-hot-hot came across, in the end, as lukewarm.
Fendi jetted due Middle East, going so far as to stage its catwalk atop a golden dune, without any seating (we bet an editor or two wasn’t too happy about getting sand in her Armadillo pumps). And what walked that drift? Desert dandies – built in a neutral (though still vivid) color palette – that were vaguely militaristic, such as the first look's fatigue utility coat or look 20’s draw-strung hooded trench, but more so casually dapper.
An earthen, tri-buttoned blazer, for example, over mahogany leather pants was perhaps the most successful option in terms of crisp-meets-hip (though leather in the desert would be pretty unbearable). Elsewhere, an Aurelian shawl lapel on a graphite blazer read flat, as did odd abstract splatter patterns on T-shirts. One piece, a glittery gilt top with a flamingo motif, would have been better served on its own, not covered by an unappealing eggshell-crackled anorak (above, right).
Building off the above point, this collection will no doubt look better in separates, on hangers. The mash-up on the runway just didn’t work – hide on the pant, python on the body, knit on the sleeve, for instance (above, center), just didn’t jibe. If that’s the case, in that it’s just a styling problem, fine, but until we see it broken down, consider Fendi’s desert cooled.