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​Fendi at 90

Lagerfeld draws direct inspiration from East of the Sun, West of the Moon for the 90th anniversary collection

“…an unforgettable and emotional fashion spectacle.” –Suzy Menkes

With its imposing scale, triumphal arch, swirling turquoise waters, and grand figure of Oceanus, the Trevi Fountain in Rome has long been a spectacular stage-set. It was the location par excellence of 1954 comedy Three Coins in the Fountain; a backdrop in Roman Holiday, starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn; and in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, it’s the setting of the movie’s most iconic scene, when an awestruck Marcello wades out to stand before Sylvia, and Nino Rota’s tantalizing score gives way to the fountain’s crashing water. For thousands of visitors each day, the fountain is a place of wishes, if only the legendary promise that, with three coins in the water, they’ll return to Rome.

On July 7, 2016, the Trevi hosted a new kind of magic as fashion label Fendi celebrated its 90th anniversary with an unprecedented Trevi Fountain fashion show. To enraptured applause from the likes of Mario Testino, Karl Lagerfeld sent models including Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner on a runway right across the illuminated water. And to the fountain’s movie moments and ancient mythological figures, Lagerfeld brought another enchanting lineage: the Fairy Tale. His astonishing couture collection, titled Legends and Fairy Tales, was a parade of midnight blues, furs fit for an ice palace, princess sequins, woodland detailing, miniature birds, immaculate petals, and several designs drawn directly from TASCHEN’s recent reprint of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, illustrated by Danish artist and golden-age illustrator Kay Nielsen.

Nielsen’s illustration edition of these classic tales, described by the Brothers Grimm as “the best folktales that exist” is considered a jewel of early 20th-century children’s literature. With 46 illustrations and many enlarged details, TASCHEN’s finely crafted reprint, printed in five colors, revives the stunning detail and artistry of Nielsen’s images to their original splendor. Commenting on the book’s inspiration, Lagerfeld explained how “It was in a way the mood of my childhood, the Northern fairy tales”.

On seeing the Fendi designs inspired by the book, editor Noel Daniel said: “It is an extraordinary experience to see East of the Sun and West of the Moon take on a totally new life in the hands of Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi, and it’s an absolute delight to see how the images so directly inspired his breathtaking 90th anniversary show. The artistry and craftsmanship and love behind each flower, each branch, each hue of sky is unbelievable. The tales have proved yet again to be eternally inspiring.”