Though his appointment at Fendi is relatively new — he has officially been there only just over 14 weeks — the move was first mooted a couple of years ago when he started to get antsy at Vuitton, and in men’s wear. Men’s clothing may be a growing sector, but women’s wear remains the glamour side of the business: The shows are bigger, as are the collections, celebrities and budgets.
Rumors had reached a fever pitch that Mr. Jones was going to join Donatella Versace at Versace, to become her heir. Instead, he played his chess pieces like a grandmaster and ended up moving to Dior, with the suggestion, it was rumored, of more to come. Indeed, it was during those earlier negotiations, Mr. Jones said, that Silvia Venturini Fendi (the Fendi family member still involved in the business, and the head of men’s and accessories) broached the idea of him coming to Fendi to work on the women’s line.
“It was on the mind of everyone who decides here as soon as we saw how much work power he had and how much his collections touched the right audience,” Mr. Arnault said. Mr. Jones put an Easter egg of sorts in his final Vuitton men’s collection with guest appearances by Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell in shiny LV trench coats (his female friends had always worn pieces from his men’s collections). And at Dior, he delved into the couture archives to add a touch of feminine opulence to his men’s wear.
As far as Mr. Jones is concerned, it is navigating the multitude of choices in women’s wear that is the biggest learning curve. “All the embroideries and techniques are a little overwhelming,” he said, noting that when he arrived at the Fendi atelier, he had to ask the staff to leave for 10 minutes so he could go through them by himself.
For a reality check he has a group of women around him, including Ms. Moss, who consulted on accessories; the stylist Melanie Ward; the art director Ronnie Cooke Newhouse; and, most of all, Ms. Fendi and her daughter, Delfina.
“We both surround ourselves with people and objects that inspire us, and draw upon our own lives and passions to fuel our creative process,” Ms. Fendi said of Mr. Jones in an email. She added that as with Mr. Lagerfeld: “Kim and I exchange ideas spontaneously via text or chat, as there are no boundaries to our jobs. We see something that might inspire us and share it with the other.”