Milan Fashion Week: Fendi + Versace Collab on, Well…Fendace

Back in the middle oughts, it became clear that the new era of the great fashion collab was here to stay, when limited edition collections by Karl Lagerfeld (2004) and Stella McCartney (2005) for H&M touched off such a fervor, that you wondered if fashionista fistfights might just break out on the retail floor over a pair of semi-exclusive jeans. This year alone there have been some excellent ones (Vans x Opening Ceremony) and some not so excellent ones (Jil Sander x Birkenstock). But it’s our sincerest hope that we at least never have to see the names Vivienne Westwood and Forever 21 in the same press release.

Fittingly just closing out this Milan Fashion Week (which took place, yes, in actual physical form), a high-end luxury collaboration has got the style-obsessed chattering classes excitedly chattering away. And indeed, in the stunning coming together of Italian houses and cities, Fendi (Roma) and Versace (Milano) unveiled a startlingly unexpected double collection, with each creative director being temporarily swapped over to the other side (Designer Swap?). And so we have Fendi by Versace by Donatella, and Versace by Fendi by Silvia Venturini Fendi & Kim Jones. Got that?

We’re not exactly sure if each was actually trying to out-fierce the other; but the results do seem to suggest that neither was being bothered much by the notion of restraint. Rather, the 25 looks delivered by each are all about unrepentant glamour, extravagance and palpable sensuality, precisely the sort of statements we need right now, after a year-and-a-half of on and off lockdowns – during which time most of our finest threads were left to gather dust in the closet. Of course, for such an occasion, the upper upper echelons of modeldom had to be called in, with the likes of Naomi Campbell, Emily Ratajkowski, Gigi Hadid, Karen Elson, Adut Akech, and Kate Moss + Lila Moss Hack leading the charge down the runway.

“It’s a first in the history of fashion,” enthuses Donatella, “two designers having a true creative dialogue that stems from respect and friendship. It led to us swapping roles to create these two collections.” 

It arguably ups the game on this past spring’s Gucci X Balenciaga collab, which was conceived to celebrate the former’s 100th anniversary. And with the gauntlet now thrown down, expect the fashion collab floodgates to open.

Above four images, Fendi by Versace

Above four images, Versace by Fendi

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