When a designer decides to venture outside of their usual fashion week city, one expects them to more-or-less show the same collection they would have at home, for whatever season is being shown that fashion month. But for Fendi's first time showing at New York Fashion Week (instead of its usual Milan), Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini Fendi took a different — and probably more impactful — approach.
They used their NYFW slot to celebrate the 25th anniversary of, well, a bag. But not just any bag: the Fendi Baguette, a massively popular cash-cow of a bag that I and many of my peers associate with New York City thanks in large part to a very stylish fictional newspaper columnist named Carrie Bradshaw, who wore them often in the Y2K era.
Like the Baguette itself, "Sex and the City" is enjoying a renaissance of late, and we learned in season one of "And Just Like That" that Bradshaw maintains an affection for Baguettes after all these years. In episode nine, she carries a pink sequined version that Fendi actually designed in collaboration with the actor who portrays Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker. In acknowledgement of her undeniable contributions to the bag's enduring success, Fendi seated Parker in the front row of its blowout runway event Friday night, and even named her in the show notes. (Longtime "SATC" Costume Designer Patricia Field was in attendance as well.)
"I didn't want to do a traditional 'collection' for the anniversary," Jones said in a statement. "Rather it's a celebration of a time, of the moment the Baguette became famous. I relate that time to a sense of freedom in excess and fun — both qualities the Baguette possesses."
Excess and fun were on full display Friday night, from the massive venue — Penn Station-adjacent Hammerstein Ballroom (not exactly somewhere you'd find Bradshaw) — to the celeb-filled front row (recent collaborator Kim Kardashian, Naomi Watts, Lori Harvey, Chloe Bailey, Maude Apatow, Evan Mock and Shay Mitchell). There was even a little off-the-runway '90s supermodel reunion featuring Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta. Excess and fun were also seen on the runway, via a parade of bold ready-to-wear and accessories. Jones and Venturini Fendi tapped some iconic New Yorkers to collaborate on that as well.
Marc Jacobs designed a series of looks that made up "Part 2" of the runway show, for which each model wore a massive, Jamiroquai-esque fluffy hat reminiscent of the ones Stephen Jones made for Jacobs' Fall 2012 collection. The quote Jacobs provided for the show notes was just as odd and quirky as his designs.
"I've got one word: Fendiroma. And it is one word! It is another land, this Fendiroma... And I've got two words: The Baguette. It's a bag — and I am never one to shy away from an iconic bag."
It's absolutely a bag, and it feels like a bag, like the reason why you go to a store to buy a bag... but Jacobs, Fendi and Jones showed us that it can be other things, too.
On the runway, there were baguette fanny packs, baguette clutches, baguette backpacks, baguette bracelets, baguette necklaces, baguette keychains and baguette belts. Jones put his undeniable stamp on the style via gorpcore baguettes, seen as cargo pockets on pants, jackets, vests, skirts, fleeces, jumpsuits, gloves, socks and even hats.
Another iconic New York brand, Tiffany & Co. joined in the festivities as well, collaborating with Fendi on Tiffany-blue versions of the Baguette. (Like Fendi and Marc Jacobs, the jeweler is also now owned by LVMH.)
Once this collection hits retail (it's billed as a Resort 2023 line), the merchandising opportunities will be endless. You can practically see the dollar signs all over each look. Covetable accessories and rare collaborative items? Cha-ching.
"It was a special day when I designed this bag; the stars aligned," Venturini Fendi stated, reflecting on the bag's conception in 1997. "The horoscope said it was a Fendi day."
Not even Friday's Mercury Retrograde — which no doubt made such a huge, collaborative event even more difficult to pull off — will stop the Baguette from continuing to make LVMH lots of money. See the full collection (and pick out your favorite) in the gallery below.