The Story Of Fendi


“Whatever Fendi does it must be distinguishable… It must stand apart… It must have its own identity” – Paola Fendi

Fendi is a house of style, innovation, elegance and grace. The House of Fendi has a rich Italian history that began in Rome, and with nothing more than hard work, dedication and an amazing sense of the “right now” has become an international force to be reckoned with. From the streets of Rome, to the Great Wall of China, Fendi never ceases to amaze the world. Nowadays Fendi has 160 stored in 25 countries worldwide and continues to be one of the most coveted and sought after labels in the world.

The history of Fendi began in a corber of Pizza Venezia in Roma in 1918. Inspired by the traditional craftsmanship techniques of Roman master saddlers, young entrepreneur Adele Casagrande launched her own leather workshop. In 1925 she married Eduardo Fendi, and the couple opened a small boutique shop next door, moving to the next rooms above the shop. The House of Fendi was originally known for being the first handbag and fur workshop in Via del Plebiscito, Rome. The design house was immediately recognized for the quality and craftsmanship of the Fendi Products. Between 1931 and 1940 Adele gave the birth to five daughters: Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla and Alda. Edoardo and Adele’s five daughters began to work for the family business. Poal Fendi was one of the first sisters of the five to begin with the family business at the young age of 15. The other sisters soon followed. Speaking about her childhood, Carla Fendi told WWD: “Accessories were our first toys”.

In 1964 the sisters opened an office in Roma, and installed a large picture of their mother in the entrance. The following year, they began working with Karl Lagerfeld, who alongside the sisters, helped to propel the brand into the luxury fashion powerhouse it is today. During this time Karl Lagerfeld created the famous black and brown double “F” logo .In 1965, Fendi began to look at and use furs that had once been pushed to the side for various reasons, often because they were looked at as ‘poor’. They began to experiment with dyeing and tanning and other unique ways to create products. The Fendi sisters and Karl Lagerfeld begin to transform Fendi into the design house it is today. In 1966: Fendi releases their first couture collection under the direction of Karl Lagerfeld.

In 1977 Fendi house introduced a line ready-to-wear (known a 365- a dress for every day of the year) for a woman who wants her fur and purse to match to her dress, and in 1978 they launched a line of shoes produced by Diego Della Valle. When Adele died in 1978, each of the five sisters took over a different role of the business. Paola was in charge of furs, Anna leather goods, Franca handled customer relations, Carla coordinated he business and Alda was responsible for sales. The 1980s saw a period of a considerable expansion for the house. The sisters opened stores and boutiques around the globe, and the Fendi logo was bestowed upon everything from sweaters to home décor.

In 1996 Fendi adds an industrial prét-a-porter collection to the handmade production of furs. The Fendi bag was transformed into a more soft looking style than the original rigid handbag that was common. Fendi’s very first RTW fur collection was launched. In 1984 The Fendi collections were expanded into ties, gloves, scarves, sunglasses, jeans, and home furnishings. In 1985 The National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome held a celebration of Fendi for its 60th anniversary and the collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld for 20 years. The exhibit was called ‘FENDI-Karl Lagerfeld, A Working History’. This year was also launched the first Fendi perfume – Fendi for Women. In 1988 the Selleria collection, a completely handmade collection originating from Adele Fendi, was launched. This collection was going back to the basic and early ways of creating a collection of handbags, travel bags and other leather goods. This was released as a limited edition collection that flew off the shelves. In 1990 Fendi started to dabble in creating a men’s collection. In 1994 there was a restructuring of the Fendi Company, and Carla Fendi took on the role of president of the board. In 1997 the creative house of Fendi was lead to the creation of the Fendi Baugette by Silvia Venturini Fendi (nowadays she also heads up Fendi childrenswear). In 2001 the LVMH Group took over Prada’s share of the Fendi house. And by 2004 the LVMH Group became the sole owner of Fendi. In 2005, the spy bag was created by Silvia Fendi as a follow up to the success of the baguette. Fendi celebrated the 80th anniversary. In 2006 the B bag was created and launched and in 2007 on the 19th of October Fendi became the first fashion house to stage a fashion show on the Great Wall of China. This was one of the longest shows ever with a catwalk of 88 meters and had 88 models to walk to walk the history-making catwalk. In 2008 on the 28th of February it was the opening of the 22 Avenue Montaigne Fendi store. In a celebration of the opening the concert of Amy Winehouse was held, which gathered 400 guests.