Not Just A Label – Fendi

fendi 3 Fendi 1 Adele Casagrande was born in 1897, Rome, Italy. A designer from a young age she opened her own shop in 1918 at the age of 21, later renaming it Fendi when she married Edoardo Fendi 7 years later. Fendi was a leather and fur shop in Via del Plebiscito in the centre of Rome. The business quickly acquired dedicated clients and became known throughout Italy for its furs, this lead to the opening of their second shop Via Piave in 1932. In 1946, Paola, the eldest Fendi daughter, went to work at Fendi at only 15; followed by all four of her sisters, Carla, Anna, Franca and Alda. When their father passed away in 1954, Adele Casagrande retired and passed her business on to her five daughters. A few years later, the girls were joined by Karl Lagerfeld as creative director, this agreement proved prosperous for both parties. Lagerfeld designed the inverted ‘FF’ logo, which soon became an internationally respected and recognised symbol.

He and the five sisters also began to research, experiment and revolutionize the treatments of fur and leather. The team invented new tanning and dyeing techniques, which had not been seen before and made previously unused skins wearable.  They created garments that were light and elegant, as opposed to the heavy and stiff fur garments of the past. Fendi made fur flattering, comfortable and easy to wear; quickly establishing a strong name for itself and its popular fur collections.  By 1966 Fendi launched their first couture fur collection, designed by Lagerfeld; this was a wild success with foreign buyers and Fendi furs were quickly introduced into the US by Bloomingdales, followed by other high end department stores. In 1969, after already establishing themselves as a well-respected couture brand, Fendi released their Ready to wear line, in Palazzo Pitti in Florence. This collection continued to show Fendi’s innovation, evolving techniques, luxurious designs and skilled craftsmanship.

The children of the five sisters also grew up working in the business and have now become directors of the company, as well as bringing out their own label, Fendissime. In 1999 Fendi sold 51% of the business to Prada and LVMH, after much arguing and discussion within the Fendi family. However, 2 years later, Prada sold their share to LVMH, leaving them with majority shares in the company.

In November of 2005, Fendi celebrated their 80th anniversary; they continue to be a strong force within the fashion world, as what is often called the perfect luxury brand.

Shop Fendi in our collection: Early 80s Black Fur tie Maxi Coat