For Fendi Men’s A/W 18, the runway was transformed into a section of an airport, with a functioning luggage belt at the centre. An airport is one of the most relatable and universal spaces - we’ve all spent plenty of time hanging around these luggage belts. At the same time, an airport is also the new pop cultural temple of vanity and fame. Overwhelming amounts of paparazzi photos depict celebrities on their way to yet another flight - some, like Bella and Gigi Hadid, seem to be permanently at the airport in their calculated off-duty looks. Fendi’s latest offerings were by no means off-duty, but could easily become uniform for the new era jet set.
Coming up with a formula of contemporary luxury is a challenge faced by all the major fashion houses which rose to prominence in the 20th century and Silvia Venturini Fendi has perhaps come the closest to getting it perfectly right. Her vision of luxury echoes its classic canons: abundant monograms, fur, exquisite tailoring. But it’s also mixed with today’s menswear must-haves: baseball caps, sneakers bumbags and puffer jackets. The luggage belt came in handy when displaying accessories, as did the whole airport story: some models were carrying up to four bags of different configurations and sizes (clearly, not your Ryanair boys). They were also prepared for all possible weather conditions sporting warm checked duffel coats, raincoats and umbrella hats.
Speaking about the Fendi previous menswear collection last season, Venturini Fendi admitted that she is very interested in normality, 'but it is the Fendi normality'. A/W 18 seems to be the continuation of the Fendi normality: based around the mundane yet exciting experience of travelling, it offers the perfectly practical indulgence, the normcore luxury. Monogrammed pieces could be compared to Gucci’s recent collaboration with the Harlem couturier Dapper Dan, or Balenciaga’s industrial use of their stamp-like logo. It also seemed to have followed the pattern of reference already showcased by Prada and Burberry — reaching into the brand’s archives to produce statement pieces instantly picked up by millennials. In their newly rejuvenated street-inspired spirit, Burberry brought back the beige plaid pattern and the cap notoriously associated with chavs. The story told by Fendi also seems to be rooted in the past, but with completely different vibes: the abundance of brown hues looking very seventies, perhaps going back to the cinematic past of the Italian jet set.
Overall, A/W 18 Men’s in Milan manifested the move towards more laid-back, streetwear-influenced look. It’s not entirely clear if large luxury houses are banking on the new consumer among the hypebeast generation — or their old consumer just adapted to the new times. In any case, the changes are for the better: it means more diverse casting, younger energy and less restrictive version of masculinity. Fur coats from Fendi A/W 18 (with all the controversy of still sticking to the material) would look very fitting on Instagram famous models or rappers in various airports. Of course they are made to be worn, not snapped by paparazzi, but it doesn’t hurt either.