“When you think the Fendis have taken fur as far as it can go . . . think again!” exclaimed Vogue in 1983. They got that right.
More than 30 years later, the Roman purveyor of luxury went so far as to introduce 24 karat gold skins—just one of the experiments in mink and sable and fox and ermine that have pushed the boundaries of how fur is both used and perceived.
“At Fendi, we have always believed in fur and used it in unconventional ways,” Carla Fendi, one of the five Fendi sisters, once said. The sisters hired Karl Lagerfeld as designer in 1965, and he has been called “the sixth Fendi child,” so intimately are the house’s fortunes bound up with his own. He dreamed up the label’s double-F logo; it stands for “Fun Fur.”
Founded by an unusually bold young entrepreneur named Adele Casagrande as a leather-goods business, which first opened in 1918, the house acquired its current name when she married Edoardo Fendi in 1925. Since 2001, Bernard Arnault’s LVMH luxury conglomerate has held a majority share. Silvia Venturini Fendi, Anna Fendi’s daughter, is the mother of the decorative, diminutive, world-famous Baguette bag, not to mention Delfina Delettrez Fendi, who has a thriving jewelry label of her own.