Ninety years ago, today, Fendi came to be. This powerhouse of a brand started humbly as a fur and leather goods dealer by Adele and Edoardo Fendi. It’s after the five Fendi sisters took over is when the house saw a new wave of appreciation. In keeping with its aesthetic and quality, Anna, one of the five Fendi sisters called upon a then young but still great Karl Lagerfeld to head the fur and womens ready-to-wear division.
I think it’s safe to say that this long running relationship between Fendi and Karl is only growing stronger. As Fendi celebrates its 90th anniversary through the beautiful spectacle they put on at the Trevi fountain in Rome, the experience catered to all senses and emotions of any person present there, after all, it was a show so large, introducing new and unseen levels of grandeur.
We caught up with the legend behind the name. A quick conversation that says it all, unfiltered and full of banter Mr. Lagerfeld says it like it is, and looks great doing it. When asked about his association with Fendi over the years, which is the longest running collaboration in fashion history, and that one outfit he’d like to revive, he says unabashedly, “I don’t think about the past, I always think about the next and want to do more because I think I can do better and improve”. From fur, to crape to leather and beyond, over the many years of association, all fabrics, textiles and silhouettes were explored, some even invented in ways only the legendary powerhouses combined can.
From Kangana Ranaut to Kate Hudson, they’ve all worn and adorned Fendi. From toting around the peek-a-boo bag to sashaying down the red carpet in unique couture pieces, one thing’s for sure, every woman is the Fendi woman. “It is very difficult to identify a specific woman,” says Karl of who he thinks the idea Fendi woman is, “Our job is to propose collections hoping that many women will appreciate what we do. Saying it’s for this kind of woman and not for the other, it’s too sharp a remark,” he explains. Agreed, fashion as an entity is for anyone who can buy it, can understand it and can appreciate it and perhaps, Fendi and Karl are happy to have that in their wide range of audience.
It’s often crossed our minds, a man’s ability to take on so much and never break a sweat. With Chanel, Fendi and his eponymous label Karl Lagerfeld, all running successfully, does it not get confusing for the one man behind it all? How does he keep the Fendi brand identity different, one wonders. He begins to describe saying “It’s so natural to me. I disconnect from Paris and from anything else and I connect to what I’m doing there. I forget the rest.” Owing his ability to switch between the labels so effortlessly to his personalities, he decodes it all, “I don’t have one personality, I have three. Fendi is my Italian version, Chanel my French version and Lagerfeld is my own version. I never made something that looked like Chanel at Fendi and never made something that looked like Fendi at Chanel because both have an identity.” And this is very evident in every thread and bead that goes into each of the design house’s collections.
When asked about the future of Fendi and where he sees the label years from now, he explains, “Fendi is a global brand with high quality and modern design. It is moving forward, changing and enticing. Admitting that with the world he likes to change as well. “With fashion you have to. That’s what fashion is about!”
It’s easy to look past all details in the name of brand value, for most consumers. However, with Karl as the creative head, every detail matters. The craftsmanship can never go unnoticed, and the love for his art is sewn through every inch of his creations. A man so dedicated, a man so talented, Karl epitomises fashion. Fendi has long been the go-to design house for all those with exquisite taste and that’s just a testament to the brand’s aesthetic and the talent of the man behind it all.
Ladies and gentlemen, Karl Lagerfeld continues to inspire, Fendi continues to aspire and we continue to appreciate. Ninety years after it came to be, today Fendi stands as one of the largest fashion houses in the world. It’s presence in the fashion industry has set a standard for all those who follow and with each passing season and each collection that comes with it, we await with baited breath, to see what Karl will do next, as only Karl can do best.
Words By DHRUV ADITYA DAVÉ