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Edoardo and Adele Fendi first launched Fendi in 1925. They have since become known for their ready-to-wear lines, fur, fragrances and accessories.
5 Mins

The History of Fendi

Lewis Findley
Lewis Findley

Fendi Makes History

How often does a fashion house start a revolution, make history and then make history again? Just ask Fendi. 

They have been at the centre of some truly remarkable feats. The combination of Sylvia Venturini-Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld showed us that Fendi is not afraid.

A partnership that spanned over 50 years, they produced a string of successes in a way that only Fendi can but with a dash of controversy. 

From the fashion show staged on the Great Wall of China to the unfortunate pie incident, here's the story of Fendi.

Rome and Fendi - The Eternal Connection

Fendi can trace their origins back to 1925 when Edoardo and Adele Fendi opened a leather and fur store in Rome.

Called the eternal connection, Rome and Fendi share a special relationship and was a source of inspiration for Adele.

This inspiration led to the famous Selleria collection. Debuting in 1938, it consisted of hand-made bags using Roman leather.

When the second-generation of the Fendi family took over in 1946, strong growth followed. This growth was spearheaded by Paola, Carla, Anna, Alda and Franca.

During this successful period, they started working with one of fashion's most controversial figures, Karl Lagerfeld.

When Fendi Met Karl

Image Via - The Independent

In 1965, emerging designer Karl Lagerfeld joined Fendi.

He started experimenting with furs and succeeded in starting the first of many revolutions by Fendi.

He managed to transform fur from being a symbol of status to one of fun. How? Lagerfeld designed a fur collection comprised of light and colourful hues. The target was independent and emancipated women on the search for a unique style.

Trivia - The double F logo also debuted and means fun furs.

Fur is a contentious issue in the world of Fashion and outside of it. Sparking numerous protests, it's led to many infamous moments.

Lagerfeld Controversies

Image Via - PETA UK

As much as Lagerfeld's fur collections have been praised, they have also been criticised.

In 2001, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) activists targeted Lagerfeld at an event in New York.

They were armed with tofu-pies and hurled remarks at the German designer before throwing pies at him. They missed their intended target and hit Calvin Klein instead!

Image Via - CBS

Lagerfeld's rejection of their calls to stop using furs reached new heights in Fendi's Haute Fourrure collection in 2015. 

Celebrating his 50th year with the fashion house, it consisted of numerous fur designs which included a million-dollar fur coat.

Despite protests outside and various walkouts by editors, the show was praised by critics.

Lagerfeld has gone from strength to strength with Fendi and this continued when, Sylvia, a 3rd generation Fendi, arrived.

Silvia Venturini-Fendi

Image Via - The Glass Magazine

In 1994, Silvia Venturini-Fendi joined the company.

Working with Karl, she became the creative director of the accessories range.

One of her most successful years was no doubt 1997.

Image Via - Fendi

She designed the iconic baguette bag which went onto win the Fashion Group International award for accessories in 2000.

Renowned for its craftsmanship and use of the finest materials, it marked the end of the '90s and the minimalist style.

This award is one of many milestones for the brand. Check out some of their most iconic moments.

Fendi's Fashion Milestones

Fendi's exploits in fashion are quite fascinating, you can say that Fendi make their own rules. 

Fashion Show on The Great Wall of China

They say that Beauty Breaks Rules.

One of the most famous days for Fendi, Fashion, the World and Space! In October 2007, Fendi held a fashion show on the Great Wall of China.

Comprised of 88 models and 88m of a catwalk, it became the first and only fashion show to be viewable from space.



Fendi Turns 60

Have you ever celebrated a birthday like Fendi?

Their 60th Birthday in 1985 was one to remember as it was celebrated in 3 different countries! Rome, London and New York.

  • Rome held an exhibition of Fendi's work at their national museum of modern art.
  • In New York, Fendi opened their first store in the USA on Fifth Avenue, NYC. 

Trivia  - To mark the launch of their first perfume, Paris raised 26 Fendi flags.

Fendi Haute Couture

In July 2015, Fendi entered the world of Haute Couture.

Presented by Karl Lagerfeld, they showed fur pieces never-before-seen. 

Trivia - The collection was shown at the Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris.

Check out the video by Fendi

Fendi Restore Trevi Fountain

Fendi solidified their links with Rome by restoring the Trevi Fountain, a symbol of beauty and eternity.

Occurring during their 90th anniversary, the project took 17 months!

Check out the video! (spoken in Italian with English subs).



Final Words

Every fashion house has a story and Fendi is like no other.

Their links with Rome are one of fashion most endearing stories and soon entering its 100th year! 

Since contributing to the fur revolution, which is reportedly worth £40bn, it serves as a reminder of the fashion's controversial relationship with animals.

While the use of fur is considered luxurious, alternatives are becoming ever present with the rise of Faux Fur.

The US state of California made the landmark decision to ban the use of animal products in October 2019. 

Will this become commonplace and spark a new revolution? 

Check out more stories on the journal.