Fendi Haute Fourrure Collection Preview

Up close and personal with Fendi's Haute Fourrure collection (10 July 2015)
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After admiring the breathtaking fur coats at the Fendi Haute Fourrure defile at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Y was invited for an exclusive preview two days later to 9 Avenue Hoche. A beautiful space in this Haussmann style building had been specially converted to host the exquisite Fendi Haute Fourrure collection where customers like Y had the privilege to be up close and personal with them, and learn from the best in Fendi – their in house resident fur expert accompanied with other fur artisans who were responsible for making these furs come to life.

We were picked up in a car and whisked away to this building where Guillaume, the Retail Director for Fendi SE Asia, and another friendly French lady from Fendi greeted us and brought us up to our private fur appointment.

Guillaume from Fendi, greeting me with one of the ladies from the team outside the showroom.

As we entered the large apartment space, we were greeted by their resident fur director, a really passionate guy who was going to take the next hour to explain in detail about the furs and the techniques and also let Y try on some of the furs she liked, that she might want to have made-to-order – no pressure indeed (gulp)!

The first display we noticed as we entered the first room were a selection of 3 brown and white fur coats, showcasing a myraid of techniques including quilling, lessage, and cross stitch like techniques known as “pois de quai”. Even the classic Fendi baguette bags were brought to life in a new way with similar mink and embroidery adopted on the bag.

Some of the experts from Fendi’s fur atelier.

Some of the interesting beading and tapestry works shown in the furs.

Very vivacious fur expert bringing us through a tour of the Fendi coats.

Up close with a cropped coat with quilling and Fendi Baguette.

Check out these amazing details!

The level of attention to detail was clearly apparent here, such as the longer brown coat with the cascading falling petals on it. Even the way the “petals” were sewn on, had a lot of care and intent in it, so that it had a lot of texture and movement and looked ‘naturally’ placed as if one really had just walked through a waterfall of falling flowers.

Love the graduation of flower petals on the coat.

This Haute Fourrure collection named “Silver Moon” drew its inspiration from both flora and fauna, and there’s a large exploration of nature in an almost optical dream-like way be it in terms of the patterns, shapes or colours. There was a definite strong sense of geometry in not only the forms of the coats but even how different furs were pieced together for some of the coats be it strong slanted lines or softer wave-like lines. Fendi’s ultimate fur craftsmanship could be seen through the gheronatura (let-out) and inlays adopted in the coats.

We were brought into a second room where we saw all the coats shown and displayed in their full glory on mannequins – shades of black, grey, silver, dark brown featured heavily with some white and even flamingo pink. It was truly a sight to behold!

Front display of fur coats.

Backview of the fur coats.

There’s a lot of intense hand cutting that can be seen, be it in the hand cut flowers, feathers, furs to form different shapes, and layers on the coat as well as hand sewing 3D beads, metalling flowers and quilling onto the coats. In fact I enjoyed admiring the coats from the backview, as some coats had even more surprises on their back, be it the flamingo pink cocoon like cropped coat or the long dramatic coat with multiple appliqués of different furs sewn on to create what looked almost like a painting on the coat.

Flamingo pink cocoon coat – look at the beautiful flowers on the cape.

Look at the amount of work on this, different fur appliqués handsewn on the body.

Layer upon layer of different furs hand cut to make the dramatic V shaped collar.

Look at the way each fur and feathers are laid on the back of the coat, it’s multi directional and looks so natural and textural.

Another reason for the collection titled “Silver Moon” is also the for the innovative “silver fur effect”, which Fendi created for this collection. A Sable fur coat looked like it had been dipped in silver, giving a luminous metallic effect, and yet not compromising in any way the softness and quality of the fur. It’s a combination of fashion with art and science to create this first ever technique.

Bead work set amidst the silvery effect of the fur.

This could make a cool wedding dress too… hmmm!

As you can imagine, what I would call the Rolls Royce of furs were used in this entire collection – Russian Barguzin sable, mink, lynx, fox, Persian lamb. I was told Ermine was worn in the past by European royalty, often being the most sought-after fur for court presentations and official portraits by kings and queens, and of course this collection also included this rare fur.

Another interesting thing about Fendi is also about constantly reinventing and finding new ways to present their fur, and in the example below, this long fur coat is interspersed in wave like strips with vinyl – a rather unlikely material. Who would have thought that vinyl could even be done in such a luxe way with fur? Only Karl could have.

Vinyl and fur mix it up!

What makes Fendi always special is also their attention to the inside of the coats. They are known for their reversible coats and naturally the inside of some looked even more spectacular than the outside with their luxurious and eye-catching embroideries. Hence, even during the show, some coats were worn “inside out” to show the elaborate embroidery and details on the inside.

Reversible coats with amazing embroidery on the inside.

Up close with the embroidery.

Looks quite simple from outside?

Look again on the inside of the coat.

The Golden Wings coat, so aptly called is my favourite look from the collection, although it is probably not very wearable and also rather fragile due to the multiple feathers on it. The collar is layered with gold painted feathers, handcut feather shaped mink strips, plus part of the coat uses white Persian lamb fur which is an extremely rare color for Persian Lamb, typically more prevalent in black. Hence, this coat also bears one of the heavier price tags in the collection. One atelier was responsible just for researching on the feathers to see what would be the best and most suitable in complementing the design and other furs adopted for coats which had feathers used.

Golden Wings coat, sigh!

I believe I can fly. Look at the golden wings at the back!

Layering on the collar of what looks like at least 4 different materials. Amazing!

It took at least 200 – 600 hours worth of work to create each and every piece in the collection. Karl’s ideas came to fruition successfully with the skill of artisans from Fendi’s Haute Couture ateliers in Paris such as Lemarié and Hurel who are experts in their own respective fields. After admiring the furs, Y was invited into a room to try on the furs, so exciting! I think she tried on about 4 different styles and of all the pieces, she loved the “Metallized Waves” coat which was a beautiful 3/4 length coat that was interspersed with what looked like mink, and other types of fur and had a lovely fluidity to it, and oh when the collar is upturned, it’s a totally different look again.

Are you ready?

Long dramatic coat.

Y’s favourite piece from the collection – “Metallized Waves” that seemed the most ‘wearable’. Love the collar!

Another piece Y tried, look at the hand cut precision on the sleeves of this sable coat.

We wished we could have stayed in the room to just enjoy the coats longer especially for Y who couldn’t bear to take her favourite coat off, but all good things had to come to an end. The reality is these coats do cost a fortune, and that’s why they are Haute Fourrure and made to measure only. So we had to calmly walk away and not risk putting an extremely huge dent in Y’s bank account.

One may ask why a bear like me made out of fur is talking about this fur collection. I think it’s not fair to judge Fendi or other designers adopting fur in their fashion, if one is a meat and fish eater, or wearer and user of leather goods. Rather it’s more about where the leather skins or furs in today’s fashion is sourced from? The reality is Fendi is one fashion house who ensures that the fur they use comes from animals that were treated humanely and they are specially farmed in proper environments for their furs. How different is it from choosing to eat free range chicken over caged chicken? To quote what Karl said a few years ago, “In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes and even handbags, the discussion of fur is childish!”

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