Images: Fendi Shanghai SS21 Couture Show

The escalation of violence against Asian Americans sadly confirms that, despite Joe Biden and Kamala Harris winning the White House in November, four years of divisive presidential rhetoric still haunts the American landscape. So it is encouraging to see fashion building bridges between the cultures, and celebrating beauty and creativity when we need it most.

And so the stunning images from the Fendi Shanghai Spring/Summer 2021 Couture Show offer a reminder that our desire for said beauty does indeed bring us together – in this case in a most fantastical way. Staged at the Shanghai Exhibition Center this past Friday, March 19, models traversed the catwalks amidst prodigious vitrines, in the shape of the hallowed Fendi logo, creating the effect of strolling in a glass garden, of sorts. There was also a corresponding Exhibition of Rare Books and Manuscripts, which related directly to the concepts behind the styles.

Indeed, Creative Director Kim Jones’ newest couture collection drew inspiration from the Bloomsbury Group, an early 20th Century literary collective that included Vita Sackville-West, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster, Lytton Strachey, Leonard Woolf and Virginia Woolf. Hand-printed, marble-bound books by the latter two were included in the exhibit.

“I like how this family of people – and particularly these two pioneers – moved things forward,” Jones enthuses. “I admire the way that they lived their lives, the freedom that they created for themselves and the art that they left behind for the world.”

And, certainly, the world needs great art more than ever.

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