Last night, Fendi’s newest 57th Street New York flagship store hosted an intimate cocktail party and book signing in celebration of Fendi’s Artistic Director of Womenswear and Couture, Kim Jones, and photographer Nikolai von Bismarks’ latest collaboration: “The Fendi Set.” The book pays homage to the early twentieth-century community of British writers, intellectuals, and artists known as the Bloomsbury Set.
“I was inspired by the concept of strong women while looking at Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, the two women from the Bloomsbury Set,” Jones told Vogue. “I had a pamphlet of recent paintings of Vanessa Bell’s, and I also have Vita Sackville-West’s copy of Orlando, which Virginia Woolf gave her. That was the starting point for the collection, and it was befitting because Fendi started in 1925, and Orlando was written in 1928, creating a time similarity that worked well together. “
Guests walked up the store’s cascading marble staircase and were welcomed with a bevy of cocktails and passed canapes upon arrival. Even the live DJ was decked out head to toe in a brown Fendi monogram suit. Friends of Fendi pondered over von Bismarck’s dreamy portraiture displayed on sizeable white gallery walls amidst the neutral color palette of the fashion house’s latest collection. Attendees included Bella Hadid, Precious Lee, Lily Allen, Tommy Dorfman, Selah Marley, Ajani Russell, Taika Waititi, Derek Blasberg, Alessia Fendi, Fendi, Paola Fendi, Rebecca Dayan, and many more.
This book is a carefully thought-out visual masterpiece. Nikolai von Bismarck spent four months of detailed research, followed by 11 months of shooting across England, Italy, and France. The pale blue binding welcomes readers to immerse themselves into an ethereal photographic retelling, inspired by the respective period the Bloomsbury Set members lived.
“I had pins three meters high with every bit of reference from the Bloomsbury Set, and then I slowly started editing it down. I reread the group’s books and re-watched all the related films to better understand and expand on Kim’s vision to make this book,” von Bismarck told Vogue. Each dreamy page spotlights the brand’s modern-day muses, including Christy Turlington, Demi Moore, Gwendoline Christie, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and more. In fact, the supermodels and starlets were shot at places the Bloomsbury Set lived, visited, and painted. “I wanted some of the photos, especially in the English section of the book, to feel like found photographs, almost as if they were discovered in Duncan Grant’s drawer,” said von Bismarck gesturing towards the grand images behind him.