The Milan-born Stefano Pilati is something of a designer’s designer. Having clocked experience as a menswear design assistant at Giorgio Armani, head of research at Prada and then assistant designer at Miu Miu, he steered the house of Yves Saint Laurent through eight memorable years marked by masterful tailoring, a slew of hit accessories and directional silhouettes that ruffled traditionalists only to go mainstream seasons after.
A playful reimagining of the Peekaboo by Stefano Pilati, this iteration features strips of leather artfully interlaced to create a mosaic of miniature FF motifs.
Following his exit from the maison in 2012, he became the head of design at menswear giant Ermenegildo Zegna Couture and creative director of its womenswear label Agnona – roles that would help cement his signature look: conceptual yet casually elegant; the embodiment of impeccable taste, if you will. Through a nearly four-year stint, he turned the classic, family-run business into a must-watch brand before leaving to start his own Berlin-based genderless label Random Identities, distilling his vision for the youthful, underground party-going crowd.
“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,” says Kim Jones, artistic director of Fendi’s womenswear. Kicking off this initiative that is “distinguished by a belief in sincerity over strategy”, the Friends of Fendi: Stefano Pilati collection is trademark Pilati in its play with androgyny and silhouettes.
Stefano Pilati drew inspiration from the distinctive silhouettes of the Flapper era for his collection for Fendi.
Women’s tailoring, for example, is louche and can be worn by both sexes, while trousers sport a relaxed basque-style waist in a contrasting fabric. He’s also lent his wit and subversive eye to the accessories: Fendi’s Peekaboo, for example, has been given a graphic yet rustic makeover with strips of leather interlaced to form a mosaic of mini FF motifs.
Duality has always been a key theme at Fendi (consider how the Italian luxury house has always had a penchant and knack for multiwear designs such as its recently debuted Origami handbag). With the 42-look Friends of Fendi: Stefano Pilati collection, which hit boutiques recently, this expression of fluidity goes beyond the interplay of masculine and feminine elements, or contrasting materials – it’s in the overall look too. The bourgeois chic of Pilati’s Milanese roots meets the classic elegance synonymous with Fendi’s native Rome in the likes of silk blouses paired with cotton mini skirts and bookish pumps, or a simple flapper-inspired slip dress unexpectedly cinched with a bejewelled belt.
A sleek rendition of the Baguette in glossy crocodile leather
Meanwhile Fendi’s iconic Baguette pochette comes in a variety of personalities: razor-slick in glossy embossed leather; fun and trendy in a new pillowy leather finish; and eclectically cool in smooth nappa and with its signature FF metal buckle applied not as the fastening, but as bags loops on both sides – a style dubbed the Baguette Twist.
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