Heavily sequined pieces that swish as the wearer walks, sheer sheath gowns with trains, and little sculptural wrap tops with tailored pants—these are a few of Kim Jones’s favorite things. The Fendi artistic director of couture and womenswear was thinking about Karl Lagerfeld’s approach to futurism for his spring 2024 couture collection, which he unveiled on January 25 in Paris. Never one to shy away from a theme, Jones decked out the entire venue at Palais Brongniart in retro-meets-futuristic silver.
As models waltzed down the runway, it became evident quickly that this collection was a study of contrasts. Think: black and nude column dresses free of embellishment (or the total opposite); dresses so heavy with beading and shiny, sparkly things, you could hear them coming down the runway before they even stepped onto the catwalk from backstage. With each minimalist and maximalist look, there were bags to match. Take your pick from supersize baguettes or options covered in silvery fringe. Some models walked the runway holding micro baguettes in the palms of their hands, TV presenter-style.
To bolster the superfuturistic look, models wore clear, frameless, Y2K-era glasses. “In the collection there is a humanism at the heart of this future; there’s the body, the silhouette within the silhouette, the person, and the handwork of the couture,” Jones said in the show notes. “The collection is about structure and decoration, where the two become indivisible. I wanted an idea of precision and emotion at once.”
There were audible gasps as guests rushed to grab their phones to capture the delicately fluffed, fringed, and feathered wonders (Zendaya and Reese Witherspoon and her daughter, Ava Phillippe, were among the celebs sitting front row). These pieces in particular spoke to the brilliant imagination of haute couture. There was definitely no shortage of texture. Ripples of fabric came pleated on maxi-length gowns and sheer beaded backless ombré dresses had a gentle glow. Gossamer-thin silks seemed to float down the runway. The contrast between light-as-air woven pieces with pearls and chunky crystal fringe bags was felt—and fully intentional. The show notes gave nods to the embroiderers, tailors, pattern cutters, leather workers, dressmakers, and furriers behind it all.
There was a streamlined, structured, and ultra-practical feel to the clothes—especially when they were worn with the fluffed-up fringed coats that were full of personality. There were plenty of gowns waiting for their red carpet moments, but the real fun comes in Jones’s doses of impractical whimsy. And that seems to be what keeps his A-list clients, in their big furs and sequins, coming back time and again.
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