The story of Fendi started in 1925, when Adele Fendi and her husband Eduardo opened a small shop for leather goods and furs in Rome on Via del Plebiscito. After Edoardo died in 1946, their five children took over the shop. Each of the children started specialising in a particular sector: leatherwear, fur, public relations and sales to bring the family business to a higher level.
In 1965, German designer Karl Lagerfeld was hired to design for Fendi. One of the biggest contribution that he made to the brand was creating the now worldwide famous, inverted FF logo. The logo of the two F's stood for Fun Fur, which bring us directly to the second important thing Karl Lagerfeld did for the brand, the treatment of fur. Fur used to be a stiff and heavy material but Lagerfeld and the Fendi sisters turned fur into the lush, soft and sumptuous material as known in fashion today. For the first time fur could be made into more than just coats.
In 1966, Fendi introduced its first couture fur collection, designed by Karl Lagerfeld. They succeeded in producing a product accessible to the ordinary consumer: beautiful furs at a limited price. From that moment on Fendi did not only gain popularity in Italy but also in the United States. But ofcourse the fur sensation was met with some critique. Fendi is among one of the few grand fashion houses that still openly celebrates fur.
A decade of expansion
The 1980s were a decade of considerable expansion for the house. The Fendi sisters opened stores and boutiques around the globe, and the Fendi logo was seen on everything from sweaters to home decor. By the nineties, they had introduced their first men’s perfume and ready-to-wear lines.
It wasn't until 1997 that the brand gained cult status, when they introduced a series of handbags, which included the Fendi ‘Baguette'. The Fendi Baguette was launched in 1997 and caused worldwide hysteria. The bag can be carried directly under you arm, like a piece of French bread, hence its quirky name. The Baguette was the first it-bag of the modern era and very different from the classics like the Birkin, Kelly or the Chanel 2.55, as it was small, lightweight and perfect for the new generation of women. The bag was designed by Sylvia Fendi and came in everything from disco sequins to fur and satin to tribal beads. Since the first model in 1997, the bag has seen more than 1000 variations.
Kanye West once sported the Fendi logo, shaved into the back of his head.