Fendi x Versace: What the FENDACE?

Halloween may have come early in Milan, as fashion’s ultimate designers just pulled off a costume change that may be the historical IT moment of the year. Held at the extravagant Versace family palazzo, the Versace and Fendi swap opener was indeed a family affair.

The story begins with two friendly, but competitive Italian sisters known as iconic fashion houses Versace and Fendi. The designers decided to parent trap each other’s designs in a brilliant, show-stopping *insert Lady Gaga meme here* one-night-only catwalk collection for the ages.

Donatella Versace poses with attendees in Milan
Donatella Versace poses with attendees in Milan Photo credit: Instagram: @donatella_versace

The star-studded event included Dua Lipa, Elizabeth Hurley and Demi Moore alongside cult favorite models Adut Akech, Vittoria Ceretti, Shalom Harlow, Gigi Hadid and Kate Moss.

This lineup was then shut down by none other than neighborhood legend Naomi Campbell.

Forget the fashion, Milan knows how to book.

Fendi’s Kim Jones is no stranger to creative collaborations that turn heads, especially with names seen in the spreads of HYPEBEAST. Remember the time Dior went all Cactus Jack?

Kim Jones and Donatella Versace close out the launch of the Fendi x Versace collaboration project
Kim Jones and Donatella Versace close out the launch of the Fendi x Versace collaboration project Photo credit: Instagram: @donatella_versace

The designer, who is head of Dior menswear, debuted his first collection for Dior in collaboration with American artist Brian Donnelly “KAWS.” Jones’ memorable show featured “KAWS’s” infamous best friend character created out of romantic pink roses, suited in Dior.

The show was a game changer, but this time at Fendi, there is no collaboration here. This is a historical conversation.

As with all great conversations, this one started at a fabulous dinner. Jones and Fendi’s Silvia Venturini joined Donatella Versace after a ready-to-wear show where the trio dreamed up a fun and feisty reversal, an event where the two sides could literally step into each other’s shoes. Versace would give Fendi the Versace makeover, while Jones and Venturini would Fendi-up Versace’s wardrobe.

The design-off turned out to be the ultimate homage to one another’s past and present. The moment the iconic Versace logo above the catwalk turned one hundred eighty degrees to reveal the Fendi logo, a phenomenon was born. This magical surprise sparked a shift into a radical direction that no other designers had risked before.

Donatella Versace poses with models for the Versace brand
Donatella Versace poses with models for the Versace brand Photo credit: Instagram: @donatella_versace

No, it was not taken from the Balenciaga and Gucci “hack” and “contamination” campaign. Instead, here is a moment in fashion history whose beauty came out of 25 looks that are not at all commercially viable. These garments were created out of friendship.

The process here included rare, archival research that none of the opposing sides had seen before.

The designers discovered new elements about the craft of design, which resulted in dialogues over each others’ overlaps and differences in taste. Like the deep bond between two sisters, each designer exposed their own vulnerabilities as competitors, but also gained unique freedom to reinterpret their destinct visions through one another.

Kim Jones and Donatella Versace pose ahead of the Fendi x Versace event in Milan
Kim Jones and Donatella Versace pose ahead of the Fendi x Versace event in Milan Photo credit: Instagram: @mrkimjones

At the base of this open discourse, was the essential foundation-trust. Because of it, each house has come out victorious. Their late ancestors, the both late and great, Gianni Versace and our pony-tail fashion father Karl Lagerfeld would be proud. For reference, Lagerfeld was the previous designer for Fendi, savior of the iconic Chanel brand and friendly rivals with the Versace King.

It’s satisfying to see a contemporary show where fashion does not just dare, but revolts its way into history. Fendi and Versace have made fashion exciting and we are all buzzing.

Featured image taken from Instagram @dualipa