As Karl Lagerfeld's successor, Kim Jones certainly has huge shoes to fill

British-born Kim Jones (left) is filling the void left by the 2019 death of Karl Lagerfeld, who had joined Fendi in 1965. Photo composite: AP, AFP

Italian fashion house Fendi announced just last week that Kim Jones is stepping into the shoes of the late Karl Lagerfeld. He takes over the position as creative director of haute couture, ready-to-wear and fur collections.

Jones will however, still stay on as artistic director of Dior Homme – the other fashion house in the Paris-based luxury goods conglomerate of LVMH.

He reportedly joins the third-generation Silvia Venturini Fendi, who will continue in charge of creating Fendi accessories and menswear collections.

Read more: British designer Kim Jones takes over at Dior Homme

British-born Jones is filling the void left by the 2019 death of Lagerfeld, who had joined Fendi in 1965 and had been its womenswear design chief since 1977.

Jones’ first Fendi collection will be ready-to-wear shown during the Autumn/Winter 2021 fashion week in February next year.

Stepping into the shoes of a legend

As it is, Lagerfeld made his name designing for Fendi. He was at the helm of the fashion house for a whopping 54 years. It only ended due to his death last year.

While he was similarly celebrated at Chanel (where he served as creative director), it was his long tenure at Fendi that ultimately stood out.

Fendi said farewell to designer Lagerfeld last year, presenting his last collection in Milan two days after he died. The packed audience included long-time friends, former colleagues, journalists and fashion specialists.

The company even took out full page ads in international newspapers showing him on the terrace of its Rome headquarters under the headline: "Thank you Karl for the most beautiful journey. With all our love, Your Fendi family."

Known as Kaiser Karl – a nickname that referred to his demanding character, put-downs and uncompromising standards, he was nevertheless respected by those within the fashion community.

Read more: Malaysians mourn the passing of iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld

It will be exciting to see how Jones now incorporates his own personal aesthetic into Fendi's design codes. He is after all, especially known for fusing streetwear and tailoring at Louis Vuitton.

Those within the younger fashion crowd are thus excited to see how this will turn out. Can he bring about the change everyone expects, but at the same time not alienate staunch Fendi fans?

Jones has been credited as the brains behind Louis Vuitton's collaboration with cult streetwear label Supreme (when working with the fashion house), as well as the Nike tie-up with Jordans at Dior.

Whether he can continue making high fashion fun and cool is now a huge responsibility for him to shoulder at Fendi.

A fashion shakeup

It’s the second major fashion partnership announced in recent months, after news that Raf Simons would join Miuccia Prada as co-creative director of Prada. Their first joint women’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection will be shown in Milan later this month.

In a press statement, Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of Fendi parent company LVMH, praised Jones for having proven he could "adapt to the codes and heritage of the LVMH houses while revisiting them with great modernity and audacity”.

Jones, who joined Louis Vuitton in 2011 and moved to Dior Homme seven years later, said on Instagram that working at Fendi and Dior together is a a big thing for him.

"Working across two such prestigious houses is a true honour as a designer and to be able to join the house of Fendi, as well as continuing my work at Dior Men’s is a huge privilege."

Silvia welcomed him into Fendi. Her post on Instagram said that she is "excited for the future together."

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