Sunday, January 11, 2009

FENDI Monster

Before leaving for Hawaii, I was warned by friends and colleagues alike, that fashion is of no concern for locals there and I should expect nothing but a barrage of 'bikinis and boardshorts'. They were right. But they have a point: what other attire would I require when our days were spent relaxing on my friend's lush, ten-acre property (featured above) on the Big Island; lounging on white sand beaches, black sand beaches, jumping in the ocean, dipping into freshwater lakes in the middle of secluded forests, and general relishing of the sun's rejuvenating rays on my browning skin?! Hawaii may not be a fashion destination but I'm convinced, that it is a place for nature's magic to reveal itself in full-force.

Yet, it became apparent very quickly that between spaghetti-strap tanktops (ick) and string bikinis, Big Island locals stick to a strict dress code of 'hot weather very casual'. Already accustomed to sticking out like a sore thumb everywhere else in life, I mostly rocked 'Mrs. Roper" dresses: lightweight, floor length, wild-patterned vintage dresses. My Mrs.Roper gowns ended up being an appropriate and versatile choice; thrown over a swimsuit or worn to dinner with heels, they're an equal mix of practical and pretty.

After a couple of weeks on Big Island, we flew to Oahu for a very different experience - to kick it at a friend's extravagant penthouse suite with a view that reaches the mountains on one side and the beach on the other. We were only minutes away from the infamous beach mecca, Waikiki, where naturally, one would expect to see evidence of a higher fashion consciousness. The status on style? Negative. This was surprising: doesn't every major city have at least one pocket of unique fashion, a place where style mavericks dare to be boldly different than the rest of the sheep? Or, if nothing else, a place where status-motivated individuals boast a different major label to every garment they don?

My friend suggested we check out a fancy open-air 'mall' in Honolulu that housed some impressive high-end boutiques and we might check there for some style inspiration. Despite my obsession with fashion, a mall is the very last place I'd want to be while vacationing in glorious weather. Shouldn't we be spending every available waking hour gallivanting on the beach? We checked out the mall - Ala Moana - regardless, because what's a quick perusal of inspiring windows at Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel, right? What happened next is a bit of a blur.

Between the two of us, we tried on about one-hundred thousand dollars worth of clothes and, I am not exaggerating. "You really have to try it on to see how it looks" is more than an empty sales pitch; it is gospel. The staff at Ala Moana were the friendliest I've ever encountered in luxury boutiques anywhere. Experiences at the same boutiques in London, Paris and New York have never proffered such superb customer service. As we browsed from boutique to boutique, we admired the innovation in textiles at Prada, the attention to detail in the painstaking patterns in Chanel suits, and the luxurious fabrics at Louis. It was was as though our style appetites devoured these gems for nourishment as we salivated our way to the one boutique that stole my heart more than it ever has in the past - FENDI.

I have learned that I am certifiably a FENDI monster. I tried on every dress that remained on the racks from the Fall/Winter collection. Including the following items:
This one-shoulder, black silk, floor length gown actually looks better without a belt, in my opinion. I tried it on in two-sizes too big for me and the slouch actually showed the genius draping off better than it would if it fit super tight everywhere.
I also tried on the above leather jacket. It was part-Matrix and part-Victorian for its ruffles and rouches. I think they should have shown it on the runway without the accessories of a belt and satchel because it would have shown off the details of the intricate design on this handsewn leather masterpiece.

From fashioning myself, albeit briefly, in so many FENDI's ready-to-wear items, I've learned that Karl Lagerfeld and his cronies in Italy are geniuses at fit. Every single gown, dress, skirt, or blouse that I tried on fit me as though it was a couture piece; made-to-measure for my hips, narrow waist, prominent shoulders and long legs. Beyond perfect fit, at this point in my life, the signature classiness of FENDI with its hard-edged self-assuredness is exactly my style right now. For the last few years my look has been deeply influenced by Rick Owens (goth-rocker glam that plays with the skinny silhouette and volume) and Prada (techy, confident femininity). But what I tried on at FENDI was at once flattering and style-defining. Each piece became a statement when I tried it on; declarations of fun, playfulness, style acumen, and of quality.
In particular, one item at FENDI (shown above on models at a FENDI party) made me drool more than others: a Resort Collection navy-blue overall with crisscross racerback suspenders and a wide-leg trouser. Holy Mother of All Mothers. At the pricetag of $1,310 USD I considered what an investment it would me in not only my future, but the dynamite one-piece seemed like a good reason to have kids too; shouldn't a beautifully tailored and unique item like this be an heirloom?

One of my fave shopping pals found his favorite piece at FENDI too. A purple and black dyed chinchilla cape. Only he could get away with this one. The pricetag: $45,000 USD.

The cape fit so undeniably well on him that the manager approached us and offered a 30% discount without hesitation. Now, 30% makes quite the dent on something that costs as much as a decent luxury car. However, no takers here, unfortunately!


Anonymous said...

you both left empty-handed?
i could not try something on that i wasn't prepared to buy if it fit. and this really does.
that's torture.

Anonymous said...

agreed. looks amazing. worth it.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that you mentioned how you'd expect Oahu to be a bit more fashion daring considering it to be the states capital, but as a girl who's born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii i've had my share of woes with Hawaii's lack there of fashion, but it does exist even if in a small dose. Next time you're here for a visit check out downtown/chinatown where the fashion forward locales go; don't expect to find them in waikiki (tourist grazing). You'll definitely see the HUGE difference and be pleasantly surprised

I'm Revolting said...

That outfit looks beyond amazing on you -- much better than on the models, truthfully. I think you need to go back and get it.

Tenacious said...


I think that with a body like that, you need to show it off in perfectly-fitting clothes. I don't know how could you leave it behind.

SpasticEcstatic said...

Christ - you look hotter than the models!