Kim Jones has already waded into the world of couture with his work at Dior Men, but now he dives headlong into fashion’s most rarefied realm, with his Fendi haute couture debut. For his first ever womenswear collection, Jones brought a little Britishness to the storied Italian house. His starting point was the Bloomsbury set and their historical Charleston house, an epicenter of 20th-century creativity and artistry. The frescoes at Charleston were turned into the collection’s intricate prints and embroideries. And as many of those murals were inspired by Italian Classicism, Jones then wove in the marbles from Villa Borghese—tying it all back to Fendi’s Roman roots.

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The sisters at the heart of the Bloomsbury group, Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, informed the familial quality of Jones’ stellar casting—Kate and Lila Moss, Christy and James Turlington, Adwoa and Kesewa Aboah, Leonetta and Delfina Delettrez Fendi. Delettrez Fendi, now the creative director of jewellery at the house, represents the 4th generation of Fendis working for the brand. Jones also paid homage to his predecessor, unearthing drawings and monograms from Karl Lagerfeld’s 54-year-old archive and having them hand-beaded onto the collection’s boots.

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Woolf’s Orlando, the time-travelling, gender-blurring literary classic, was Jones’ cue to turn haute couture into a genderless proposition with women and men both walking the runway. His fluid notion of gender was expressed most clearly in the blush-pink dress hybridised with a blazer, the mint-green gown cut for a man, and the printed suits with flowing capes for both him and her. As befits its source inspiration, the collection was heavy on Elizabethan grandeur and romance—there were diaphanous gowns, lavish crystal and pearl embellishments, fluted sleeves, chandelier earrings, regal capes and painstakingly hand-cut rosettes. Naomi Campbell closed the show in a silvery marbled look that was equal parts monastic and majestic.

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