Silvia Fendi draws on the therapeutic nature of touch to update cold weather classics

Fendi’s latest menswear collection is a careful rethinking of comfort clothes—garments that make us feel safe and at home in our own bodies. For Fall/Winter 2021-22, Creative Director Silvia Fendi approached the practical elements of a cold weather outfit, unzipped them and made them luxurious and interesting—all while keeping their essential coziness intact. The ubiquitous winter puffer jacket was modified into diagonal quilting that appeared throughout the show. There was a breath of puff in nearly every other look, whether in the collection’s inflated robe coats or its jewel-toned padded pants and shorts (often paired with a downy top in an identical shade).

Fendi deconstructed another winter staple, the beloved yet conventional sweater, and presented it in a variety of unusual forms, including a pair of rib-knit dungarees seen in both ivory and black. The ivory variation was the keystone piece in a full-knit look, set atop a riddlesome layered turtleneck with cuffs that doubled as mittens. Like the mitten cuffs, much of the collection was designed for multi-use—scarves extended directly from the collars of cable-knit cardigans, large pockets were sewn into (detached) scarves, and many of the fabrics featured are reversible. Mohair was another knit that caught Fendi’s focus this season—appearing throughout the collection in the form of ankle socks with a pooling slouch and fuzzy striped turtlenecks and rugby shirts.

Perhaps the most challenging winter classic to update is the fur coat, which naturally emits an aura of traditional luxury. While Fendi stuck with staid cuts and colors for this season’s furs, she also incorporated unexpected details: white piping slashed through a fleecy black bomber, enormous pockets placed on an otherwise smooth-faced cream sherpa, and plush satchels embossed with the FF monogram.

Fendi punctuated the show’s soft tactile warmth with punches of color and chaos via the bright abstractions of multidisciplinary English artist Noel Fielding. Fielding’s cursive lettering forms this season’s swirling Fendi logo and his freely-scribbled graphics appeared on outerwear and the brand’s signature calfskin bags alike. Fielding’s psychedelic artwork was well suited to the set of the show, which was streamed live from Milan and featured a field of neon-lit frames in lieu of a traditional runway. Models marched through the glowing frames, which changed color as the show progressed to the beat of an exclusive dance-pop track composed by Not Waving. The atmosphere of the show was optimistic, but not doggedly so—reminding us of the simple therapeutic nature of things that are soft to the touch.

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