Fendi’s latest fashion show was a Roman celebration in the shadow of the Colosseum

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, as it showed its couture collection with Rome’s Colosseum looming large in the background. This felt like a particularly special show, one which paid homage to both the city of Rome and the brand’s previous creative director Karl Lagerfeld.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Roman fashion spectacle…

The setting…

The show was called The Dawn of Romanity, and was a tribute to the city where the label was born. Pulling out the big guns, Fendi set up its catwalk on the Palatine Hill – arguably the centre of ancient Rome, next to both the Forum and the Colosseum.

On Instagram, the brand writes 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”.

(Domenico Stinellis/AP)
(Domenico Stinellis/AP)

Fendi’s connection to Rome runs deep – it helped pay for the restoration of the Roman landmark the Trevi Fountain, and in 2016 it celebrated its 90th anniversary with a catwalk show over the fountain. Now, the Temple of Venus and Roma is getting the same treatment and the brand has pledged €2.5 million (£2.2 million) to help clean and restore the ancient temple, which is believed to be one of the biggest in Rome. According to Vogue, Fendi held a post-collection dinner among the ruins of the temple, which lies between the 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 and Bulgari paid to help clean the Spanish Steps, both of which are in Rome.

The clothes…

(Domenico Stinellis/AP)
(Domenico Stinellis/AP)

Silvia Venturini Fendi’s grandparents established the brand, and she worked as creative director of accessories, menswear and children at Fendi, before taking over as artistic director after Karl Lagerfeld died in February. She payed homage to the late designer by creating 54 looks for the show – one for every year Lagerfeld worked at the brand.

The whole look of the show was firmly in the 70s, with bootcut trousers and reversible coats. Lagerfeld came to the label in the late Sixties, so it’s a tribute to when he really found his voice and started revolutionising Fendi’s look. There were nods to classic Lagerfeld designs, like long fur striped scarves. Fendi is historically a brand which specialises in fur, but with so many major fashion houses announcing they’re going fur-free you wonder how long it will continue.

Hairstylist Sam McKnight matched this vibe with sleek pageboy cuts for the models.

The guests…

The guest list was suitably star-studded. After all, who wouldn’t accept an invitation to a fashion show next to the Colosseum?

Catherine Zeta-Jones attended the show with her daughter (Domenico Stinellis/AP)
Catherine Zeta-Jones attended the show with her daughter (Domenico Stinellis/AP)

Old friends of the house like Susan Sarandon and Catherine Zeta-Jones were joined by newer additions to the Fendi family like Kiernan Shipka, Zendaya and Zeta-Jones’s daughter Carys Zeta Douglas.

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When in Rome

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- Press Association

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