I don’t know what’s up with me these days (I assume it’s connected to L.A. being on the verge of re-opening), but I am practically falling off the edge of my seat watching to see what my favorite designers are up to. I’m dying to get dressed, and you better believe I’m ready to shop for summer. So you can envision the look on my face when I opened my phone to find a brand new collection from Fendi. Every item in the Vertigo capsule is note worthy, but the totally revamped logo is what really got me. Soaking in this vibrant new look from the classic Italian designer brand, it’s impossible to choose a favorite from all these happy pieces: There are multi-colored baguette bags, baby blue dresses, and an actual Fendi-print polaroid camera (yes, for real). Everything is so on-trend for S/S 21.
If you haven’t found your summer investment piece, you’ll have no problem finding it here. The collection is bright and cheerful; it recalls the seventies and is just plain cool; and it’s all because of NY-based artist Sarah Coleman, who is the mastermind behind the new Vertigo logo as well as a collaborator on the collection. Coleman recently let me pick her brain on everything from how the collab came to be to her inspiration for the new designs (including the glow-in-the-dark bag every fashion I know is talking about). Keep scrolling to read our interview and, of course, shop the collection before it sells out (because it 100% will).
I can’t begin even begin to tell you how obsessed I am with this collection. Tell me about your work with Fendi: What was the process like? Where did you find your inspiration for it?
At the beginning of the first project, I was able to meet with Silvia Venturini Fendi, and I gained access to Fendi’s digital archive. I was totally blown away. The images, the materials, Karl Lagerfeld’s drawings, and images from past runway shows totally inspire me. I went into my studio and just started creating. I was so incredibly inspired by the conversations and all the things I was seeing. Following Zoom meetings, I was able to travel to Rome on a work visa to visit the Fendi HQ, meet with Silvia, and have a tour of the archive in person. I will never forget this experience as long as I live. It was a dream come true.
This collection, as well as Fendi’s reinvented storefront in Miami that you designed, gives me major seventies vibes. In what ways do you turn to vintage fashion to get inspiration? Is there a specific time period you particularly love?
My inspiration for this collection for Fendi was to be very dreamy, alluding to the freedom of the ’70s aesthetic and the Fendi archive, where I found countless incredible images, materials, drawings, and pieces that have made Fendi what it is today. Having access to explore and use this as inspiration was a major factor in what made this collection special for me. I was asked by Silvia to be “disruptive”—to push the limits and get outside of the box. I love that. I was so empowered by the Fendi team to be myself. It was an incredible experience.
How has being from New York influenced your style and your work? Do you find you dress or act or work differently when you’re elsewhere?
Growing up in New York opened my eyes to so many kinds of styles and designers. As I grew up, some of the things I wore changed but my main goal of dressing to be my most authentic self in comfort and style has always been at the core. My wardrobe consists of things I have had for many years, items I’ve “borrowed” from my mother, and things I love that I have picked up in all sorts of shops. I buy mostly second-hand and vintage items.
You’ve collaborated with some very well-known names, including some of our favorite luxury brands. What draws you to collaborate, especially with big design houses?
I love working with brands because I find so much inspiration from the legacy of the brand and the things they have done over the years. Brands that have a timelessness allow me to start with something and build off it. There’s great excitement in finding a new relevant way to honor the brand. It is great when a brand comes to me and says, “This is what we have—what can you do with it?” or “How would you build off what we have?” It is a wonderful conversation and sets us up for great creativity.
What are you most excited about in this collab? Which of the Fendi pieces is secretly your favorite?
Everything in the collection is amazing, and I am so proud of each piece. Many of the pieces are multifaceted, which is something I love in design. For instance, the poncho can be used as a tent; the windbreaker can be transformed into a backpack; and there is a hat that can be worn as a bag. I was also thrilled that Silvia was open to going back to the original 1997 design of the baguette for this collection.
What do you love about working with iconic prints and logos?
I see logos as neutrals. You can bring them into anything, and they work every time. The FF logo designed by Karl Lagerfeld is so timeless. It is beautiful—it’s transformative, it just goes with every flow, which is why it has stood the test of time. There is nothing trendy about it. It is art, design, architecture, movement, all in one. It can be used in so many ways; it can be played with; it can be changed; but at its core, it is always this powerfully iconic print.
The warped-style logo is too cool. Can you talk to me about how you developed that design?
I was playing around with the FF logo print in so many different ways. My work is very organic, humorous, and ironic. Nothing is too calculated or planned. A lot of trial and error. I see what works and what doesn’t based on how I feel after I’ve made something. The chairs upholstered in designer material came about very naturally because I loved the idea of mixing the ordinary with the extraordinary. I put the image of the FF logo print into the photo-editing app Facetune and started moving it around and warping it. This immediately spoke to me, so I went with it. It ended up being the core of the collection. The warped Vertigo print and the fish-eye print.
This collection is so vibrant. How do you approach using brighter colors in your designs? How do they feature in your own wardrobe?
Using color comes to me very naturally. I love vibrant yellows, blues, oranges, and greens. When I paint, I use a lot of color and texture. I love mixing colors and seeing how they work together. What colors I use in my wardrobe or work depends a lot on my mood and the time of year. I love turquoise and the colors of the sea and mixing earth tones with vibrant colors.
Tell us about the glow-in-the-dark bag. How did the idea for it come about?
I was playing around in my studio with painting the FF logo pattern with glow in the dark print. I turned the lights off and immediately new that this had to be part of the collection. This secret element that doesn’t scream at you but sort of exists in a surprising way. That kind of stuff is what brings me joy. A little secret that you know but no one else does until it just happens. When the lights go down, the magic appears. Nostalgia is an element I love working with—a free and youthful touch that brings you back to the child we all have inside of us.
How has the past year during the pandemic been different for you?
This year has been both devastating and one of the most fulfilling at the same time. We experienced a global tragedy that brought everyone to their knees in every respect. My family was personally affected by COVID-19, which forced us to realize what really matters: family. While all of this was happening, I was given the greatest opportunity of my career thus far. Working with Fendi and collaborating with Silvia on this project brought so much joy and inspiration at a time when I needed it the most. I feel so lucky for the way everything happened for me. I feel for those who lost family members, friends, jobs, and homes. It’s a crazy world we live in, but I really think that looking inward and focusing on what really matters to you at this time can be very helpful. We need to heal as a nation and as a world.
Finally, what outfit are you currently wearing to death?
The FF Vertigo windbreaker with the detachable backpack and my Fendi slides. My collection of crazy socks, pajama sets, a vintage crewneck sweatshirt with teddy bears all over it, and Fendi baguettes.