“Stefano is one of the designers I admire the most. I was always in love with his work and he is somebody I look up to — he has been an inspiration for what I do. Stefano epitomises Friends of FENDI: He is a friend, an inspiration, and a designer for modern times, always looking to the future, asking questions, and proffering solutions.”

Kim Jones

“Milano versus Roma: I am from Milan but there is a freedom in the Roman Style that Milan does not have — there is always ‘more’. This is a coming together of two worlds and I am so touched by the opportunity that Kim, Silvia, and FENDI have given me to be so much myself while exploring theirs, the incomparable world of FENDI.

Stefano Pilati

‘Friends of FENDI’ is a diverse series of projects and collections instigated by Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini Fendi, crossing the ‘party lines’ of the fashion industry and distinguished by a belief in sincerity over strategy, with a true notion of friendship at their heart.

Exploring both the traditional womenswear and menswear sides of FENDI, the collection curated with Stefano Pilati, reaches a new conclusion for the house, going beyond gender to something essentially more character-driven and iconoclastic. Reflecting on the 1920s as well as the 2020s, Pilati explores the idea of ‘the flapper’ for today, proposing answers as to whom might fulfill that role now both through clothing and casting.

This young woman of the 1920s, a slender, corset-less, bobbed, boyish girl who was seen as a symbol of daring, female freedom is now perceived by Pilati as a symbol of freedom for both sexes. Today, the boyish girl and girlish boy become equally charged for the designer in the collection, where seismic cultural and aesthetic shifts are reflected, and clothing tradition is united with subversion.

A sense of duality —a very FENDI quality —and a hybridisation in clothing takes place in the collection both in terms of individual garments and accessories together with clothing combinations. The rigour and construction of a masculine world are combined with a feminine linear curve, particularly in the tailoring which features a softer, more voluminous construction. Men’s tailoring might be worn with silk or leather camisoles by men. Women’s tailoring is casually worn by both sexes. Experiments in traditional construction take place throughout the collection, yet are always rigorous and easeful. For example, a new relaxed ‘basque’— in its traditional sense as a bodice – is featured in tailored trousers and skirts with a drawstring waistband, the soft bodice in a fabric that adheres to the contrasting cotton and silk shirting in the collection, flattering and extending the line of the body. This structure is also echoed in the collection dresses. In short, Stefano Pilati is a master of cut and construction for both men and women, more than familiar with the rules to know how to break them and make them apply to both.

Duality extends to where Milano meets Roma in the collection. Here, Milanese bourgeois chic meets Roman freedom. Bourgeois prim perversity is played upon together with an aristocratic insouciance. Classics of silhouette, materiality, and taste are approached rigorously and playfully by the Milanese Pilati at the quintessential Roman house — where there is truly a coming together of two worlds.