Last season, Karl Lagerfeld took Fendi into stark white retro territory when he romped through the archives of the hit Sixties designer Andre Courreges. This season, he took Fendi on a tour of some as-yet uncharted planet with a collection that appeared to be inspired by an episode of Star Trek.
Perhaps his own transformation – the once portly designer is now the size of a male model waif – has something to do with Fendi's ever changing image. Or perhaps the luxury Italian leather and fur house simply can't keep a rein on Lagerfeld's flight of fancy.
The models resembled a clan of other-worldly warrior women with muddy brown make-up tattooed across their eyes, perilously high centurion sandals strapped to their feet and plaited leather whips circling their waists or dangling from their hips.
They looked fearsome as they marched sullenly towards the cameras, the top half of their bodies encased in leather armour – jackets and waistcoats riddled with complex scenes – the colour of bull's blood and bitter chocolate.
If it wasn't for Lagerfeld's lightness of touch, this collection – in such austere shades of tobacco, claret, navy and black – might have looked far too heavy for summer. But instead, it just looked deliciously rich and strangely, refreshing too.
Layering was part of Lagerfeld's new message, as he built outfits out of hard and soft fabrics. From beneath those shiny leather shells, floated dark but delicate organza dresses; chiffon blouses billowed over knitted tubes and tulle skirts were worn over sinuous jersey slips.
It was a surprisingly sober collection in a week that has, for the most part, consisted of pretty little milkmaids and smock-wearing peasants. But peel off the layers one at a time and you could see that Lagerfeld's vision was not far away from Milan's key trends.
What of the bags? This was Fendi, after all, best known for its baguette, croissant and loaf – all former must-have bags, the sales of which fuel the ready-to-wear label. This time, the baguette had shrunk to minuscule proportions, though the price tag certainly won't have. It now comes wrapped in crystal and will fit neatly into the palm of your hand.
There were even miniature crystal cigarette cases on long gold straps. But the all-new most-wanted bag will certainly be the chocolate tooled-leather satchel. And for once, it's a practical size too.
Perhaps the footwear from the show could become equally compulsory, not the viraginous sandals maybe, but the tooled leather cowboy boots that came with an unusual Louis heel.
As ever the team of designers working on the accessories had been working overtime.Reuse content