Miuccia Prada and Sylvia Fendi Grapple With the New World

You might say the same of Prada’s show on Sunday, were it not for the shirts and assorted garments ornamented with panels repeating the irresistible graphics drawn on the walls. Those were the collectibles, the surefire Prada moneymakers. In a certain sense, that’s all the story you need.

“Many jobs are vanishing,” Silvia Venturini Fendi said before her show on Monday. “But new jobs are going to emerge.”

She was in TED talks territory, that messianic digital realm of manufacturing supplanted by thought work, making with coding, storytelling with aggregation. “We have a Skype look,” said Ms. Fendi, the rare designer to include neckties among her offerings this week. “It’s only waist-up.”

Photo

Fendi’s spring/summer collection.

Credit
Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times

Since all that matters in the world of videoconferencing seems to occur above the horizon line of a desk, you could be naked below the waist and no one would care. Correspondingly, Ms. Fendi showed shirts and ties and subtly colored jackets over shorts, the aforementioned sling-back sneakers, various wardrobe pieces ostensibly adapted to open-space working, hot desks and hoteling, although presumably the successful venture capitalists able to afford her genuinely beautiful and ornately costly designs may eventually arrive at that vanishing luxury: a corner office with a door.

“Androids will take the old jobs,” Ms. Fendi said. “But the only thing that they can’t replace is our creativity and our minds.”

Well, that and our quiddities. Among the key collaborators on Ms. Fendi’s spring/summer 2018 collection was the artist Sue Tilley, a contributor and biographer of the Australia-born British performance artist Leigh Bowery, the depths of whose intensely transgressive work are only now being plumbed.

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