Edoardo Fendi and Adele Casagrande open a small shop that carries leathergoods and luggage with a small fur workshop in the back. During a stay in Florence, Adele learned the crafting techniques to work leather. The shop is strategically located on Via del Plebiscito, a bustling cross road for the Roman nobility and their finely decorated gilded carriages.
Fendi launches the Pergamena that marks the origin of the signature yellow color, becoming an expression of the brand. Richly textured and coherent with the brand’s cultural roots, it is a recurring element on luggage and suitcases.
Adele and Edoardo Fendi unveil a full-range collection of Selleria bags, characterized by the Doctor’s Bag and by crafting techniques borrowed from the master saddlers. The bags are made with Cuoio Romano, a soft, grainy and resistant calfskin that needs to be shored up before being stitched.
WWII is over. In post-war Italy, Edoardo and Adele’s five daughters – Paola, Anna, Franca Carla, and Alda - join the family business at a time when working women were a rarity. They add élan to the collections with their stylistic whim and farsighted vision. Karl Lagerfeld later defines them the “five fingers of a hand.” Five becomes Fendi’s lucky number.
The five Fendi sisters feel the urge to renovate the company and decide to bring in an up-and-coming designer. Thanks to the farsighted acumen of their longtime friend, Count Franco Savorelli di Lauriano, Karl Lagerfeld makes his foray in Fendi. It’s love at first sight. Lagerfeld sets to work on the fur which he cuts, strips, dyes, pleats. His aim is to make lightweight fur coats to be worn day in day out.
Karl Lagerfeld coins the term “Fun Fur”, which later becomes the maison’s signature double F logo, celebrated the world over.
Fendi seals its international success. Fendi’s leathergoods catch the attention of prominent American retailers, including Marvin Traub, chairman and president of Bloomingdales, who buys the entire collection and dedicates a whole window of the 5th Avenue store to Fendi. That same year, Fendi opens a boutique on Via Borgognona, in Rome.
The farsighted Fendi sisters continue to send ripples through the fashion industry with their shrewd business acumen and design instincts. They expand the business significantly and travel abroad to woo their customers by personally promoting the products in the Fendi stores.
Fendi finds a groundbreaking way to present its first ready-to-wear collection – “Histoire d'Eau” considered the first fashion film, which Fendi has recently restored. The 18-minute short by Jacques de Bascher tells of a young woman vacationing in Rome while her parents believe she’s in a spa in Baden Baden. Dressed in Fendi, she bathes in the city fountains, collecting water in glass vials.
The Pequin fabric is born, a brown and ochre yellow striped pattern that becomes an iconic and versatile motif for the house. The first Asian flagship store opens in Hong Kong.
Fendi celebrates two major milestones - 60 years in business and 20 years of collaboration with Lagerfeld. The National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome organizes “Un Percorso di Lavoro,” an exhibition that recaps the successful and trend-setting ascent of the brand and recounts Karl Lagerfeld’s journey in the fur world. The first Fendi fragrance is launched. For the first time in its history, Harrods in London dedicates all of its 26 windows to one fashion brand.
Fendi cuts the ribbon to its first U.S boutique located on 5th Avenue, NY. Fendi Casa and the first Fendi men’s fragrance make their debut.
Silvia Venturini Fendi, the daughter of Anna Fendi, joins the company as leathergoods accessories creative director. Fostered by Lagerfeld, who sought a creative support from a family member, Silvia Venturini Fendi generates instant buzz with the restyling of the Doctor's Bag and a general re-edit of the bestselling Selleria line.
Silvia Venturini Fendi launches the Baguette bag, creating a cult accessory and setting the premises for the IT Bag phenomenon. One style, myriad variations in terms of color, decorations and textures. A success that counterpointed the rage for minimal black nylon en vogue at the time.
LVMH becomes the Fendi majority shareholder and immediately plots the company’s future growth and international expansion. The number of Fendi stores balloons from 2 to 196 in 10 years.
Michael Burke is appointed chief executive officer. Amongst his various initiatives is the inauguration of Palazzo Fendi, the company’s new headquarters designed by Peter Marino in the pulsating heart of Rome. The blueprint is a mix of modern accoutrements such as glass floors mixed with 18th century flourishes on the Piano Nobile. Palazzo Fendi becomes a logo primarily used for the jewelry collections.
Fendi takes luxury to new heights with a breathtaking runway show staged atop the Great Wall of China, capped off with giant double F logos projected onto the surrounding mountains. It is the first time ever that a fashion house shows on the Great Wall. The event, which was in the works for a year, revolved around the number 8, considered good luck in China, with 88 models strutting down an 88-meter long catwalk. The extravaganza is dubbed the first show visible from the moon.
Pietro Beccari is appointed chief executive officer. Fendi celebrates 15 years of the Baguette with a slew of activities - bespoke pop-up stores, a tome published by Rizzoli and reeditions of six of its most celebrated and successful models. The Baguettemania is as fervent as ever.
Fendi for Fountains is announced, a project aimed at preserving Rome’s heritage with the restoration of the city’s most gorgeous fountains, beginning with the Trevi and followed by the complex of the “Quattro Fontane”. The undertaking is further proof that since the on start, Rome has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Fendi, setting the foundations for a true love story.