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The Fendi History 

In 1925, Edoardo and Adele Fendi opened a small bag shop with a fur workshop in Rome on Via del Plebiscito. And so the Fendi story began, made of entrepreneurship and creativity, craftsmanship and technology.

The new commercial activity met with great approval due to the quality of its products and their workmanship. 

After the war, the five sisters, Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla and Alda, entered the business, bringing with them new verve. In 1965 the generational drive resulted in the collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld, the versatile interpreter of the Fendi image.

The traditional concept of the fur coat was revolutionized: from a status symbol it became a fashion item. The same revolution was also experienced in the world of bags, ever nearer to the needs of the modern woman.

A success that in the 1980s led to the creation of women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, perfumes, glasses, ties, scarves and home furnishings.

Fendi has been part of the LVMH Group since 2001. Its products are distributed the world over in around 160 Fendi shops and selected multi-brand stores.


Fendi originated in 1918 when Adele Casagrande opened a leather and fur shop in Via del Plebiscito in central Rome.


Edoardo and Adele Fendi, just married, open a small leathergoods shop and fur worshop on via del Plebiscito, they made a decision to change the name to Fendi. It’s the postwar period during which the new middle class is trying to find the way to recover. With that historical and social background the shop is an immediate success, because of the quality of the bags and the skillful workmanship of the furs.


The Fendis expand and open another bigger shop and atelier on via Veneto, a residential area near via Veneto that is becoming an important commercial centre in that period. As the business is growing, the fur workshop is enlarged and the Fendi name, already famous in Rome, becomes well-known outside the boundaries of the town. The italian woman is fascinated by Fendi items, and the brand is going to become synonym of taste and style.


The second Fendi generation is fatally attracted by the parents’ business. Paola, the eldest daughter, is the first one to join the company at fifteen. The four sisters follow as soon as they graduate from high school: a new entry every couple of years. It is the time in which Italy lives the frantic struggles of the post-war reconstruction. The role of women is changing in the entirely new scenary that emerges in the Fifthies and Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla and Alda, bring in new energy and new, modern ideas both for leather goods and furs. Their mother Adele encourages them, and her tenacity and personality will be a very important guide-line for their working training.


Fendi is by now a well-known name in Italy. The family opens the first of several future Fendi shops on via Borgognona, which is at the time a small street of craftman. There, important names open up shops on the street and Anna Fendi creates an association of merchants whose objective is to preserve the characteristic aspect of the road. Since many years it is considered the most elegant street in the city.


 This is an important year for Fendi that starts to work with Karl Lagerfeld, a young designer who is becoming well-known in Paris. 

Lagerfeld crates the “Zucca” print in its original form and “Zucchino” in its smaller style, Fendi’s iconic “double F” logo pattern .

 Interpreting the desires and suggestions of the Fendi sisters, Lagerfeld changes the whole concept of fur. What had always been a precious but stiff and heavy coat, becomes light, soft, easy to wear and suits women. The cooperation between the Fendis and Karl Lagerfeld pushes them towards the research of new materials and Paola Fendi tests new techniques. Furs that have been forgotten or put aside because considered as “poor” are used again. The workshops try tannings, colours and combinations, fur are cut, woven and inalid. Today Fendi is considered the leader brand in the fur field, because thanks to its tradition and continuous research, it has succeeded in creating a product that looks to the future without losing the important values of the past. 


The revolutionary methods characterizing the new fur collections are ready to be committed to the press and buyers consent: Fendi presents its first couture collection designed by Karl Lagerfeld. Success is immediate and the intrnational market starts paying attention to this new name.


Following the natural expansion of the Fendi products, the Fendi bags are discovered in Rome by Marvin Traub. He is the legendary President of Bloomingdales’ and a refined talent- scout. The bags make their first appearence in New York. The same year the Fendis organize a fashion show in Japan. Mr Sakai, President of AOI (one of the leading disrtibutors in Japan of luxury items) is there to have a look. Again, it’s a “coupe de foudre”. Fendi starts its expansion on the Japanese market.


Fendi creates its first RTW fur collection which, when combined with craftmade workmanship, research and experience, reproduces the idea and quality of a limited- production collection. The results are as good as expected: beautiful furs at reasonable costs and retail prices. Fendi thus brings its RTW furs to Palazzo Pitti in Florence, where foreign buyers are officially introduced to the new line. Fendi strives to meet the needs of foreign markets by incorporating new ideas and suggestions received from abroad. By doing so, Fendi attracts the attention of major American stores. Leather goods and furs evolve jointly; the same ideas inspire both fur collections and leather accessories. Women’s bags become fashion items, at the same time practical and functional, and designed with the same revolutionary principles as the furs. The leather is printed, meshed tinted and tanned to become softer and more beautiful.  

In addition to the famous classic canvas created as an alternative to leather in 1968, Fendi introduces striped caucciÙ (ribber rubber), various waterproof fabrics, and today the traditional colours Fendi, black and mud, are reproposed in stripes, dama and regimental patterns.



A second RTW line, an apparel collection, is created to complement the fashion image of discerning women who look for the same style and taste for their clothes as they do for their furs and accessories. Its success has grown steadily and, just as furs and bags, the Fendi coat or dress is immediatly recognized for its distinctive look and workmanship.


As furs, leather goods and ready-to-wear are having a great success, Fendi diversifies into a series of new products and lines and accessories, successful because they are created with the same attention to detail and fashion associated with the Fendi name: jeans, gloves, ties, glasses, lighters, foulards, pens that together represent the wide Fendi world.


It’s very important year in the Fendy history. It marks sixty years of business and twenty years of work together with Karl Lagerfeld. Fendi celebrates this anniversary with a special exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, the first “fashion” exhibition ever presented in a national museum in Italy, illustrating the complexity of creative and technical work involved in the development of a collection. At the same time Fendi launches its first woman fragrance.


The Italian President awards Paola Fendi the title of “Cavaliere del lavoro”. It honours her fourty years of work in the company and it also reflects on the family, the staff, and in essence, on Edoardo and Adele.



For the Fendi brand, that costantly proposes new ideas and follows the market needs, a new interesting market share is aquired: the Fendi third generation launches Fendissime, a line that includes not only furs, but also sportwear and accessories, conceived by young people for a young and less young clientele. Fendissime will grow independently from the other Fendi lines.


Fendi Uomo, a man fragrance, has a worldwide launch and equals the success of the woman’s perfume. To underline its commercial success oversea, Fendi opens its forst flagship store in the United States on Fifth Avenue, New York. With a retail space of 22,000 square feet, this store offers, for the first time, the entire Fendi world under one roof.


Fendi uomo menswear is launched: the man as interpreted and clothed by the five sisters. It is a complete line of menswear and accessories for every moment and circumstance in a man’s life.


As the market is growing, Fendi has a logical expansion which lead to an increase in the production of Fendi goods and to the reorganization of the company premises. All the Fendi officis, creative studios, a 2000 square meters fur worshops, the showroom, the warehouses and packaging facilitites, preciously scattered in various areas of Rome, are gathered in a 13,000 sq.m. compound.



It is an important year for the history both of the Fendi family and of the company. The Fendi family makes important changes in the administrative organization of the company. The third generation is admitted to the Board of Directors. As a natural turnover of power, Carla Fendi is named President of the Boards, taking the place of her sister Paola.


Fendi ushered in the era of the It bag with its beloved Baguette, a longish, skinny purse meant to be tucked under one’s arm in the manner of a French loaf. 


Fendi sold 51% of their stock to a Prada/LVMH joint venture for an astamated $850 million. 


Patrizio Bertelli sold Prada’s 25 % stake to LVMH for 182 million pounds, due to mounting debt. 

Currently LVMH owns the majority of the shares in Fendi.



 Fendi was the first fashion house to stage a fashion show on the Great Wall. Showcasing Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini’s latest fashions and specially designed outfits for the Great Wall event, 88 models from Asia and across the world descended down a catwalk of more than 85 meters.


Al Mazaya Holding awarded Fendi Casa a contract for 250 million to furnish the interiors of their ‘Sky Gardens’ project. The development is the first residential tower to be situated on Park Avenue, in the heart of Dubai International Financial Centre.





Fendi Show @ The Great Wall of China x Autumn/Winter 2007::

“I seriously doubt that there will be anything of this magnitude or anything this magical for a very long time,” said Kate Bosworth, following Fendi’s history-making sunset fashion show on the Great Wall of China on Friday night. LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault (who arrived by police escort), Karl Lagerfeld, Silvia Venturini Fendi, and company chairman and CEO Michael Burke gathered an of-the-moment crowd of 500 for an extravaganza that had been months in the making.

Those not warmed by a Fendi fur clutched tightly to hand warmers encased in logo fabric while sitting on the edge of their heated seats and hoping that none of the models would tumble down the steep runway in their high heels. “Last night I wore the shoes the models are wearing on the runway,” said Bosworth. “They’re phenomenal, but they’re not easy to walk in.” The mannequins managed to stay upright, as did the guests, most of whom ignored the suggestion to bring flats and climbed up and down the wall in spiky stilettos with the much-needed assistance of the railing or an usher.

The show, which opened with a vibrant red dress and closed 88 looks later with Chinese top model Du Juan styled as an empress in a black cheongsam gown, included an entire mini-collection created specifically for the occasion, as well as select looks from the Spring 2008 line shown in Milan less than a month ago. “Beforehand, part of me was thinking, how can you justify using the Great Wall of China in this way?” admitted Newton, in a yellow Fendi gown. “Seeing the show up there tonight—that is how you can justify it. You could see all of Karl’s inspiration in the way he designed the clothes—the beautiful spheres, the belt that was reminiscent of the actual construction of the wall. It was all there, so I felt like it was Fendi’s gift back to China.” Indeed. The entire production was said to have cost around $10 million, a huge sum for a fashion show, and a clear indication of Fendi’s belief in its future in the country.

Following the runway presentation, chilly guests were served hot chocolate or brandy to thaw them out before they were bussed to the Village at SanLiTun, an unfinished mega-mall in Beijing, for an alfresco dinner. For entertainment, there was a laser graffiti artist and dancers—some of whom were suspended from ropes so it looked like they were performing on the face of a replica of Fendi’s Roman flagship. Lagerfeld made an entrance in a sequined blazer—sans gloves. After dinner, some attendees retreated to the warmer bars for drinks while the model contingent, a few still with their hair extensions, hit the dance floor. How to sum up the extravaganza? Bosworth’s beau, James Rousseau, had one word: “majestic.”


Terence Koh, in Gareth Pugh.

Mira Yeh in Fendi.

Bao Bao Wan.

Ziyi Zhang and Kate Bosworth, both in Fendi.

Thandie Newton, in Fendi.

Du Juan, in the finale look.

Silvia Venturini Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld.

Carla Fendi and Silvia Venturini Fendi.

Karl Lagerfeld and Sébastien Jondeau

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