I’m no cynic, but when I heard that the Fendi show taking place on Friday evening at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom was a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the brand’s famous Baguette, I thought: a whole fashion show? For…a bag? Kim Jones is one of fashion’s most brilliant commercialists—how else to run the biggest menswear brand in the world, plus design womenswear for the powerhouse Fendi and a couture collection for them, too?—but the slick, efficient, professional nature of his Fendi has sometimes left me cold.
Boy, was I wrong. The floors of the Hammerstein were carpeted in plush beige, and the walls lined with silvery curtains flounced into enormous campy pleats. Just after the lights went down, someone yanked down the curtain at the front of the runway to reveal a huge mirror—which made me think of the old doorman trick, where the big guy in a suit holds up a mirror and says, “Would you let you in?”—and a raucous mix of house and techno music, by Simon Parris, started rattling the silver expanse before us with nightclub havoc.
Jones’s clothes, in the meantime, were some of his warmest and most fun to date. The last chunk of the show was a collaboration with Marc Jacobs, featuring his big signature block logo interlocking with Fendi’s on a number of oversized robes and coats and pants. But I couldn’t help but wonder—and not just because Baguette cheerleader Sarah Jessica Parker was sitting in the front row, next to Kim Kardashian!—whether Jacobs’s sensibility influenced Jones’s stuff, too. (Jacobs was the one who hired Jones to design Vuitton’s menswear back in the day.)
The core of the collection seemed to take the treasures and pleasures of the basic girl, like polka dots, and stripes, and rhinestones, and ballet dancer-ish takes on baseball caps and beanies, and remix them with the charged zaniness of the most wide-eyed girl in line for the club. I could really see these characters, stalking through the club neighborhood of the moment in cargo skirts and see-through blouses (with their it-bags, of course), thinking to themselves, If I just walk like I belong here…. (Even funnier, occasionally a woman’s voice broke into the soundtrack to say: “EXCUSE ME, I’M ON THE LIST!” LVMH Fashion Group CEO Sidney Toledano was grinning and tapping his feet madly.) She’s just putting together the wildest, wackiest outfit for the club and pulling it off.
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The Marc Jacobs woman has always been someone who wears an outfit that shouldn’t work but does, and I think that’s because there is a real tenderness to the Jacobs woman, and to Jacobs himself, especially of late (#gratefulnothateful, as he often reminds on his enviably sick Instagram outfit photos). The human quality of these clothes gave Jones’s finesse a fresh sweetness.
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Plus the party atmosphere was fantastic and frankly feel-good: who can resist Christy Turlington, Amber Valetta, Kate Moss, and Shalom Harlow hamming it up together in the front row, and Linda Evangelista as the encore look?! It could have felt like a collaboration madhouse—the bags were made with the terrific Japanese bag brand Porter, which you must immediately check out if you haven’t heard of; and Tiffany & Co. also provided some bling; and one of the Baguettes was designed by SJP–but instead it felt like a big ole kiss to the cool but eager New York striver from LVMH. You’re rooting for this girl!
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.