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Fendi is a house of extremes: big furs and little handbags, a family business with a worldwide reputation, a chic past and a street-cool future. Established in 1925, the Fendi empire was founded by Adele Fendi from a small-leather goods shop and workroom in Rome, where she and her husband, Eduardo, worked with private clients. The family business expanded with the opening of a larger shop in 1946, but it wasn’t until the death of Eduardo, eight years later, that the modern Fendi image emerged, when the family’s five daughters injected the little company with some youthful glamour. By the end of the ‘80s, the name of Fendi had become shorthand for jet-set elitist luxury, thanks to its furs and instantly recognizable double ‘F’ logo (designed by Karl Lagerfeld). The ‘90s saw the refocus on Adele Fendi’s traditional leather goods, and so the Baguette bag was reborn. Amid the late-‘90s’ appetite for baroque excess LVMH and Prada bought a 51 per cent stake in the label, with LVMH eventually becoming the sole partner in 2001. But Fendi is still very much a family business. The future lies with Silvia Venturini Fendi (born 1960, the daughter of Anna Fendi), who started working at Fendi when she was 18 after a childhood of sweeping up the studios, and is the only Fendi family member left there. Now head of accessories and menswear, and a close collaborator with Fendi Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld on the brand’s womenswear line, Silvia is the spring in the step of Fendi’s stylish strides. When she’s not dreaming up the next iconic Baguette, she’s buying cardigans and shoes from nuns’ uniform shops in Rome and producing films about Italian textile merchants. She likes taking trips to Claridge’s in London, cucumber sandwiches and champagne in Paris and parties at her island villa in Italy.


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