Fendi at Milan fashion week: a memorial to Karl Lagerfeld

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Silvia Fendi calls Lagerfeld’s 54 years with the Italian house ‘fashion’s longest love story’

Before his death on Tuesday, Karl Lagerfeld had finished work on what was to be his final collection for Fendi. Every detail, right down to the sketches of key silhouettes which he drew each season to be reproduced and left on each seat in the show, was decided.

When they spoke a few days ago, “his only thoughts were on the richness and beauty of the collection,” recalled Silvia Venturini Fendi yesterday of her final conversation with the designer who ran her family brand for 54 years.

And so it was that the Fendi show, which went ahead in its usual Milan fashion week slot on Thursday, felt closer to a final appearance by Lagerfeld than to a posthumous memorial. This was 15 minutes of pure Karl. He was there in the chin-tickling height of the starched and pointy white collars, a style he himself always wore, and in the intertwined FF Karligraphy monogram he designed in 1981, embossed into the carpeted runway.

The juxtaposition of butter-wouldn’t-melt ladylike tailoring with tongue-in-cheek accessories, which Lagerfeld made a signature both at Fendi and at Chanel, was here in almost every look. A double-breasted blazer was worn with logo-printed tights, and a prim sheath dress with a red leather bum-bag. The models included many of Lagerfeld’s favourite names from the current A-list roster, including Kaia Gerber and Fran Summers.

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