The Belgian fashion designer turned artist and A Magazine N°1 curator posits the discipline of self-portraiture to be as open-ended as the man, the myth and the legend himself, in the series Self-Portraits on display at Eenwerk Gallery, Amsterdam.
A#14 & A#19
Fendi Book Club, 2022
Words by Albert Shyong
A literary tradition brought forward by Fendi underscores the intellectual prosaic influences that feature heavily in artistic director and A#19 curator Kim Jones’ practice, complemented by the reverent preservation of heritage endeavoured by Silvia Venturini Fendi. Transcending eras from our current post-digital age to early 20th century literati London and further in time to Ancient Rome, the publications produced by Fendi demonstrate the multitudes of historical references and movements that continue to shape high culture, including fashion, in contemporary iterations. The documentation of visual arts with the written word serves as a form of canonisation of aesthetics that safeguards its own memory.
The Fendi Set: From Bloomsbury to Borghese
Distinguished by iconic women that define their own codes within society, the Bloomsbury Set and the House of Fendi share many traits in common, one being the connection with Kim Jones. The British designer spent his formative years in Lewes, near Monk’s House owned by Virginia Woolf and Charleston Farmhouse owned by Vanessa Bell, locations where the Bloomsbury Set, a group of British writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists, frequently met outside of London. This proximate impact on the artistic director is especially evidenced through his Spring Summer 2021 haute couture debut for Fendi, which contained an abundance of allusions to Woolf’s seminal 1928 novel Orlando. By integrating the Fendi women into his beloved memory of the Bloomsbury Set, Kim Jones weaves a love letter that stems from his early aesthetic cultivations to the House that exemplifies his chosen family.
The Fendi Set is divided into three sections in dialogue with one another, with hauntingly dreamlike analogue photography by Nikolai von Bismarck juxtaposed with diary entries and letters, notably between Virginia Woolf and her lover Vita Sackville-West, interspersing the visual narrative. The book’s opening section explores the bucolic English countryside from which the Bloomsbury Set and Kim Jones himself both originate. The following section is set in Paris, amidst the frenzy of the previously mentioned haute couture debut, with von Bismarck capturing the collection worn by the illustrious cast of models including Demi Moore, Naomi Campbell, Kate and her daughter Lila Moss and sisters Leonetta and Delfina Delettrez, curator of A#14. The closing section takes place none other than in Rome, featuring three generations of Fendi women – Anna, Silvia and Delfina – as photographed in the Villa Medici, drawing parallels to the Bloomsbury Set whose many members spent time living in Rome. The Fendi Set charters the path of Kim Jones while honouring the various remarkable women who serve as beacons along the way.
The Fendi Set includes text contributions from Kim Jones, Jerry Stafford, Tilda Swinton and Bloomsbury scholar Dr. Mark Hussey.
Il Tempio Di Venere E Roma
Seven hills along the River Tiber came together, built a forum in the valley below to trade, and eventually developed into the very basis of Western civilisation. The Ancient Romans predicted this enduring legacy on culture and society, and with that foresight, personified their city and worshipped it as the deity Roma Aeterna. At the edge of the forum, along with Venus the Bringer of Good Fortune, Emperor Hadrian dedicated a temple to these two goddesses in 135AD. The Roman Empire eventually collapsed, Rome fell to the Barbarians and the Temple of Venus and Roma was left in ruins. Millenia later, the House of Fendi was born in 1926 on Via del Plebiscito, only a few minutes walk from where the grand temple once stood. Almost a century later in 2019, in accordance with the House’s commitment to preserving heritage and culture, Fendi began sponsoring restorations to bring back the former glory of Roma Aeterna, eternal Rome.
Il Tempio Di Venere E Roma is a visual documentation that combines archival footage and new images by Stefano Castellani taken during and after different phases of the restoration process. The raw canvas cover of the book recalls the colours of the monument, whose splendour is revealed by the rich details and textures of the images inside. Towards the end of the book is a series of photographs taken from Fendi’s Spring Summer 2019 Haute Couture show, presented on the Palatine Hill, above the newly restored Temple, overlooking the eternal city.
The Flemish artist and A Magazine N°3 Curated By Haider Ackermann contributor muses on the seminal body of work featured in a new monographic exhibition, currently on show at MO.CO. Montpellier Contemporain.
An exclusive portfolio of behind-the-scenes images from the SS2023 menswear collections in Paris, photographed by Adam Katz Sinding.