Oh, the Romanity: Fendi’s Loving Tribute to Rome and Karl Lagerfeld

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In a highly competitive industry, each fashion house is in constant battle to outdo each other with the most exciting clothes, the most unique beauty looks, and the most jaw-dropping locations for catwalk shows. Fendi might just have scooped the top prize for the Fall 2019 Couture season, as it showed its couture collection with a truly iconic landmark looming large in the background. This felt like a particularly special show, one that paid homage to both the city of Rome and the brand’s previous creative director, Karl Lagerfeld.

Entitled The Dawn of Romanity, the show was an overarching tribute to the city where the house was born. Pulling out all the stops, Fendi set up its catwalk on the Palatine Hill – arguably the center of ancient Rome – next to both the Roman Forum and the ColosseumOn Instagram, the brand reveals that it chose the Roman setting to celebrate “its relationship with the Eternal City and strengthens once again its deep and long-lasting bond with its hometown”.

A model for Fendi presents the Fall-Winter 2019-2020 collection 'The dawn of Romanity' during a couture runaway show in front of Rome's Colosseum,Thursday, Jul. 4, 2019. The show is meant to pay homage to fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld who passed away early this year at 85, ending his 54-year tenure with the luxury brand. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Photo: Courtesy of AP Photo

Fendi’s connection to Rome runs deep. It helped pay for the restoration of the Trevi Fountain – a landmark in its own right – and celebrated its 90th anniversary with a catwalk show across the fountain in 2016. Now, the Temple of Venus and Roma is getting the same treatment; the brand has pledged over two million dollars to help clean and restore the ancient temple, which is believed to be one of the biggest in Rome.

According to insider sources, Fendi also held a post-collection dinner among the ruins of the temple, which lies between the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. It comes as part of a recent trend for fashion houses contributing funds to restoration projects: Gucci has pledged money towards the Tarpeian Rock, while Bvlgari paid to help clean the Spanish Steps, both of which are in Rome.

Fendi Fall 2019 Couture
Photo: Courtesy of AP Photo

Silvia Venturini Fendi payed homage to her designer partner at Fendi, the late Karl Lagerfeld, and his more than five decades of service to the brand by creating 54 looks for the show – one for every year that he worked at the brand.

The whole look of the show was firmly rooted in the 1970s, with bootcut trousers and reversible coats. Lagerfeld came to the label in the late 60s, so it’s a tribute to when he really found his voice and started revolutionizing Fendi’s look. There were nods to classic Lagerfeld designs, like long fur scarves – Fendi is historically a brand that specializes in fur, but with so many major fashion houses announcing they’re going fur-free, you have to wonder how long it will continue. Meanwhile, hairstylist Sam McKnight matched this vibe with sleek pageboy cuts for the models.

The guest list was suitably star-studded. After all, who wouldn’t accept an invitation to a fashion show next to the Colosseum? Old friends of the house, like Susan Sarandon and Catherine Zeta-Jones, were joined by newer additions to the Fendi family such as Kiernan Shipka, Zendaya, and Zeta-Jones’ daughter Carys Zeta Douglas.

Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones waves before the start of Fendi's Fall-Winter 2019-2020 show 'The dawn of Romanity' during a couture runaway show in front of Rome's Colosseum,Thursday, Jul. 4, 2019. The show is meant to pay homage to fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld who passed away early this year at 85, ending his 54-year tenure with the luxury brand. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Photo: Courtesy of AP Photo
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