"It's a whole new spirit in Rome," said Fendi co-designer Silvia Venturini Fendi. "This is evident when we have a new pope going back to real Christianity, which lately was far from the church. People are looking for meaning, and the real meaning of fashion is as a tool to express yourself. Sometimes fashion hides your language, but we look for meaning in materials and fabrics to allow true personality to come out."
The New York Times' Suzy Menkes reports that his humbleness is having an impact on the industry - with fashion houses adopting a more sombre, restrained aesthetic. Dolce & Gabbana's latest collection referenced southern Italian churches, while Valentino's most recent offering was demure and even featured a floor-length, plain red dress that echoed the robes traditionally worn by cardinals. Italy's emerging designers, who showcased work at last week's AltaModa event, also displayed a move away from the flamboyant, high-octane glamour that the country is known for.
"Maybe there is a moment when we want to focus on other things in life and give fashion a different meaning to clothing," Venturini Fendi said. "Women are thinking and dressing more ethically. This pope is what we all needed."