The first Fendi catwalk show without Karl Lagerfeld was an emotional affair

21st Feb 19 | Beauty

The designer, who died this week, was the brand's creative director for more than 50 years.

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The first Fendi fashion show since Karl Lagerfeld’s death took place in Milan today, marking the end of a 54-year partnership.

The autumn/winter 2019 collection was the last designed by Lagerfeld, who was appointed creative director in 1965.

In an Instagram post the brand said the show would “celebrate Karl’s unparalleled creativity and timeless legacy,” and it didn’t disappoint.

The show opened with model of the moment, Fran Summers, wearing a brown tailored jacket with a bright white high-collared pussy bow shirt – a clear nod to Lagerfeld’s signature look.

The high collars continued with much tailoring, and coats in subtle grey, fawn and beige hues, with flashes of canary yellow and raspberry pink sock boots.

As you would expect from fur-loving Fendi, there were several fluffy jackets alongside wet-look leather coats – a bright yellow version had luxe fisherman vibes – and the double bag trend continued with models carrying mini and maxi versions of the same handbag.

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Model Fran Summers, Fendi women’s Fall-Winter 2019-2020 collection (Antonio Calanni/AP Photo)

But the main focus of the collection was skirts, pleated calf and ankle-length designs that swished as models sashayed down the runway in vintage style seamed tights and bobby socks.

Styled with long-sleeved blouses and boxy jackets, these outfits would have been demure were it not for the skirt fabrics.

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On the runway at Fendi women’s Fall-Winter 2019-2020 collection (Antonio Calanni/AP Photo)

See-through black tulle, mesh or shiny green latex, all seemed designed to undermine the ladylike silhouettes – and we’d expect nothing less given Lagerfeld’s renowned sense of humour.

As Gigi Hadid took the final exit in a yellow midi dress, the emotive strains of Debussy’s Clair De Lune played and the audience rose to give a standing ovation for the late designer.

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Model Gigi Hadid, Fendi women’s Fall-Winter 2019-2020 collection (Antonio Calanni/AP Photo)

A visibly emotional Silvia Venturini Fendi, creative director of menswear and accessories, took a bow, before the lights dimmed and a video began, showing Lagerfeld being interviewed while sketching, under the heading ’54 years together’.

Asked to draw himself on his first day at Fendi, the designer describes a tweed jacket and culottes in red and yellow shades. “I remember it very well,” he says. “That was my style, disreputable.”

That ‘disreputable’ style could still be felt on the catwalk more than five decades later, as the final chapter in Lagerfeld’s Fendi story comes to a close.

David Bowie’s Heroes rang out as the show ended, in fitting tribute.

© Press Association 2019