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Publishing house Rizzoli has announced the upcoming release of a new book from Fendi, The Fendi Set. Due to launch next month, the book from the fashion house’s womenswear and couture Creative Director Kim Jones dives into a recent exploration of the Bloomsbury Group for the Spring/Summer 2021 collection. The collection of text, photographs, and historic letters and writings, featuring the work of the photographer Nikolai von Bismarck, connects the group of early 20th century creatives—including names like Virginia Woolf, Clive Bell, Duncan Grant, and Vanessa Bell—with their influences from Fendi’s home in Italy.
Jones’s concept recalls a Victorian photo album, divided into three sections detailing the Bloomsbury Group’s English roots, Fendi’s recent Parisian runway show inspired by the unconventional creatives, and a section focused on Rome. It sheds light on the Eternal city’s influences on the likes of Woolf and other members of the group. Accompanying von Bismarck’s haunting photography (executed with historic techniques and equipment in line with the era) are various texts and facsimile copies of diary entries and letters from members of the group, presented with an approach not unlike that of a fashion collection—featuring various papers, printing techniques, and textured backgrounds, just as Jones’s designs for the designs in question.
Jones and von Bismarck considered the practices of the group’s members to inform the mood of the publication, looking at works like Woolf’s novel Orlando. Following an introduction by Dr. Mark Hussey, a Bloomsbury scholar, and a preface from the performer Tilda Swinton the first section of the book saw von Bismarck traveling to the English countryside. There, he visited locations like Knole (the ancestral home of Woolf’s beloved Vita Sackville West), Woolf’s residence Monk’s House, and the home of Bell and Grant, Charleston.
“Over eleven months I had the opportunity to go deep—to research, visit and photograph the houses and gardens the Bloomsbury group lived in and decorated, many of which are still remarkably intact, to see the desks they worked at, even the beds they slept in, to walk through the Sussex and Kent countryside in their footsteps and follow them to Rome, and visit the studios they worked and lived in as well as the various sites they painted, sketched and described in their letters and books,” said von Bismarck.
Traveling to Paris, the second section is a series of photographs featuring the likes of Lila Moss, Cara Delevingne, Bella Hadid, and Christy Turlington, captured in the looks from the Spring/Summer 2021 season, which was Jones’s first exploration of the group. Von Bismarck’s images of the gorgeous gowns and garments have been treated with an antique approach, utilizing black and white, distressed edges, ghostly blurring effects, and sepia tones, as though they might be photographs found from a century gone by.
The third and final section comes full circle in Rome, tracing the steps of Bloomsbury artists across city locations like the rooms at 33 via Margutta, The Forum, and other outdoor spots. Accompanying imagery, readers will find words from Woolf musing on the beautiful city (“I am sure Rome is the city where I shall come to die – a few months before death, however, for obviously the country round it is far the loveliest in the world,” she said.) and more. The publication comes to an end with an image of three generations of Fendi women—a photograph of Anna Fendi, Silvia Venturini Fendi, and Delfina Delettrez Fendi—styled in Jones’s first garments for the house, seen within the historic Villa Medici.
“FENDI is of course a family and a dynasty,” said Jones. “It is a family of creative collaborators, with both Silvia Venturini Fendi and her daughter Delfina Delettrez Fendi working closely within the house. It is important when you work somewhere to understand the artistic heritage.”