—From Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 8, 54):
“Bears mate at the beginning of winter, after which the male and female retire to separate caves. The cubs are born thirty days later, in a litter of no more than five. Newborn cubs are a shapeless lump of white flesh, with no eyes or hair, though the claws are visible. The mother bear gradually licks her cubs into their proper shape, and keeps them warm by hugging them to her breast and lying on them, just as birds do with their eggs.”
Like the Trevi Fountain, shiny and genteel after a long renovation and returning to Rome and to the world in all its magnificent glory, this collection reflected the renaissance of fur ateliers at its best. Like the bear that creates from nothing one of its own by endless hours of caring work, Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi laboured with craftsmanship various fabrics and shapes to create each piece of this collection. They presented to the world what fur and love can do composed. With help from the incomparable Lemarié, the Chanel-owned Parisian atelier that specialises in feather work, to help with some of the fur detailing, he created a magnificent masterpiece, where the clothes became the heroes of a delicate and impressive fairy tale.
Silvia was keen to advertise Fendi’s newest dimension. “Our fur is known to be the best, but I’m very proud of the clothes.” With good reason; incomparable precious furs as sable, mink and lynx were processed, inlaid and embroidered, hand painted, in the purest style typical of the highest craftsmanship of the Maison.
But also, it wasn’t all about these dreamy layers of luxurious fabrics. This whole show was a labour of love, a gentle reminder of what dreams are made of (or were made of when we were little). It was about the tales told. Those ones that we used to listen, those ones that were told by the ones we loved the most and made us feel sheltered and content.
The bear that hugs her cubs to her breast in a warm embrace to keep them warm and protect them. This awe-inspiring beast stands fearless and powerful and it’s called King of the Forest for its sturdiness and strength. No one beats it, no one will ever do; but gently, will shape its own, protect and nurture them.
Fendi’s show was about the appreciation, continuation and emphasise of traditions, history, home. The narrative of this message was embedded in the fairytales theme. The symbolic physicality of the renovated Trevi Fountain was the reminder.
Maybe, what made the show so endearing was that Lagerfeld and Fendi were reaching out to our memories, tradition, where we come from, our family, the street we used to play at, mum hugging us and telling us a story while we swiftly fall asleep and dream of fairies. Just like the bear that soundly falls asleep in hibernation, close to its mothers beating heart.
In remembrance of my father and his love for bears.