Luca Guadagnino Directs Fendi Couture Autumn/Winter 2021 Collection Film

From E.M. Forster to Tea With Mussolini to the late art critic Brian Sewell valiantly undertaking the Grand Tour for one last time in 2005, the Brits’ infatuation with Italia has always been a bit of an emotional, ethereal but most of all eccentric phenomenon. But that Italy beat England on penalty kicks this week to take the UEFA Euro 2020 title (postponed from last year, thus the date) might have thrown a spanner into a situation already made wonky by the completion of Brexit last year. The two, surely, have been growing apart.

Amidst all of this English designer Kim Jones was named Creative Director of Italian (and more specifically Roman) fashion house Fendi in September 2020, taking the reins at a time when the world was much more concerned with merely surviving than stepping out in style. And while his first couture collection – Spring/Summer 2021 – took inspiration from the very British Bloomsbury Group, for Autumn/Winter he has now fully embraced Italia, drawing influence from exalted/controversial Neorealist director Pier Pasolini‘s distinctive depictions of Rome (Pasolini’s 1975 murder, incidentally, remains one of the great contemporary criminal mysteries).

“I was drawn to Pasolini because I have always been inspired by his vision of the world,” Jones explains. “He is something of an outsider in Roman history, but one whose voice remains constant. Pasolini observed Rome become modern – and that is what is happening to me: connecting eras, the old with the new, the past with the present.”

For the collection film, he fittingly looked to the quintessential contemporary Italian filmmaker and noted aesthete Luca Guadagnino, who in 2018 actually created a Pasolini inspired boutique for Australian beauty brand Aesop in Rome’s San Lorenzo district. But for Fendi his camera captured models moving intently but dramatically around a fantastical mostly-all-white set made to look like an ancient Roman theatre, to a haunting operatic musical backdrop. Amongst the cast are style icons Kate Moss, Christy Turlington and Amber Valletta.

“When a historian peers into history, they do it directly,” the director observes. “But when a master filmmaker and poet like Pasolini looks into the eyes of history, his gaze is a sublimating one. Through it, history becomes an urgent and delicate possession of now…the past enters the present and breathes our air.”

Considering how valiantly Italy fought its way out of the recent coronavirus crisis, perhaps Jones, Guadagnino and Fendi are merely reminding us that the Eternal City will carry on to recreate its history every day. And, of course, do it in style.

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