MFW: Gucci unmasked, Fendi remembers Karl Lagerfeld

Alessandro Michele took inspiration from Hannah Arendt's book "The Human Condition" for his AW19 Gucci collection. In her writings, Arendt "reminds us that we are persons when we choose the mask through which we appear on the world's stage...as a distinct and unique being among equals."

At Gucci the masks were equally religious as they were fetishistic, or perhaps even horror. Created by Jason Voorhees, some came in fabric and covered the full face, others in brass which obliterated an eye or ear or clutched the jaw, others were adorned with two-inch long spikes. "A mask conceals and reveals," Michele said at a press conference post show.

MFW: Gucci unmasked, Fendi remembers Karl Lagerfeld

Perhaps Michele was alluding to the equality of humanity, referencing Arendt, but in clothes on the catwalk there were plenty of things to strike one's fancy. For the label-fiend there was less of the Gucci logo and a greater accent on tailoring, but logo knee pads, sweater dresses and sneakers, tied together and carried like a handbag, will strike gold with millennials.

Michele worked alongside Lagerfeld at Fendi

Backstage Michele paid tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, for whom he worked with at Fendi at the beginning of his career. “He was mad about music and he always asked me what I was listening to. He called me The DJ because I always had some new music and he’d play it very loud. It wasn’t just music,” Michele said.

“He was interested in everything. Being with him was sometimes like being with a very clever 14 year old. He had such a big enthusiasm for life.”

MFW: Gucci unmasked, Fendi remembers Karl Lagerfeld

At Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld's last collection was shown on a runway with his signature in lights. Copies of his sketches of the collection were placed at each seat. The actual looks were far from a tribute or archive pieces, they were the real deal collection designed by Lagerfeld for Fendi this season, which saw suiting and fur (presumably for a growing Asia market), giant bows and tulle skirting worn with oversized blazers.

"We wanted to be faithful in a light way," Silvia Fendi told the Business of Fashion. "I'm a Fendi, I'm tough," she stated, "but Karl was a Fendi, too."

Photo credit: Gucci AW19, courtesy of Gucci