Fendi presents its new collection of houses – WWD
ROME – Fendi is taking a giant step forward with its in-house collection, said Silvia Venturini Fendi.
The house’s director of men’s accessories and clothing continues to creatively lead the Casa collection, but, together with CEO Serge Brunschwig, the designer spearheaded a major evolution of the line that now operates as part of a new joint venture. As reported, in May, the Rome-based luxury firm partnered with Design Holding, jointly controlled by Investindustrial and The Carlyle Group, to create Fashion Furniture Design, or FF Design, to grow the Fendi Casa business. The domestic line was previously produced and distributed by licensee Luxury Living, operating through Club House Italia.
A tangible sign of the new route is the preview presentation of the first home collection produced by FF Design, presented for the first time at Fendi’s headquarters in Rome, at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, from today until October 12, with a set- up to 11 rooms and an outdoor facility. The collection will be fully unveiled at the next edition of the Milan furniture and design fair Salone del Mobile in 2022.
“This house project is more exciting and stimulating, there is a lot more research and experimentation, both very much in tune with the spirit of the Fendi brand”, enthused Venturini Fendi in an exclusive interview with Brunschwig and Daniel Lalonde, CEO of Design Holding.
Venturini Fendi has long championed collaboration with international designers and architects, partnering with Design Miami for over a decade, and this approach will extend to the new home collection.
“I believe it is increasingly essential to constantly engage in conversation with international creative talents who can make their own contribution to the evolution of the Fendi aesthetic, beyond the confines of more commercial borders,” she declared.
In the past, for example, “collaborations at Design Miami were disconnected from the Casa line as they now merge into full alignment. Creativity should not be held back. Nothing is impossible is our main mantra.
In a licensing agreement, the intervention may be “marginal,” said Venturini Fendi, seated on a Fendi Fun sofa by Atelier Oi, with details reminiscent of the Selleria macro-points of the Peekaboo bag and sheepskin inserts. .
“Branding and integration are very important and we knew we could do more with the Casa range,” said Brunschwig. “The license had been going on for some time and we were looking to the future, to combine the creativity, the tradition and the image of Fendi, with the business, and we think Design Holding is the right partner. From the start, we understood each other, knew we could work together with the same compatible goals. We are relaunching with the right format and with a leading company.
Brunschwig and Lalonde have known each other for over a decade and shared an easy familiarity throughout the interview. Previously, Lalonde headed SMCP, owner of fashion chains including Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot. Long-time executive at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, he was also president of Ralph Lauren International before joining SMCP in 2014. Brunschwig is also a loyal executive of LVMH, joining Fendi in 2018 from Dior Homme, after having worked for Louis Vuitton and Sephora, as well as Celine, all part of the group.
“We are very happy to be working with a leader such as Fendi in a complementary partnership, and we are fully aligned,” said Lalonde. He highlighted the company’s advanced production hub in the Brianza region outside Milan and one of the most established and respected furniture hubs in Italy, which was created for the joint venture, combining the “unique know-how of Fendi with that of the craftsmen.”
Indeed, Venturini Fendi trumpeted the “fantastic craftsmen who are used to talking to designers and have a gigantic culture. [of the sector]»And skills that meet their need for functionality. “I am a practical woman, not just a dreamer, and furniture, like accessories and fashion must have a specific function, help us to live better, and be transmitted, resisting the test of time, which is the most ruthless ordeal. A bag should last a lifetime and look better and better as it ages. The same goes for furniture, which should retain its relevance for years to come.
The designer particularly likes the home line for a number of reasons, including the fact that her mother Anna launched the Casa collection in 1987. So we should bring our home to work, ”Venturini Fendi recalled. She also sees “many affinities” between furniture and accessories, and confessed a “unbridled passion for armchairs”, pointing for example to the cocooning canary yellow design of Toan Nguyen in fluffy long-haired sheepskin. “I imagine myself huddled against a book. The armchairs give a feeling of home, a home that working women lack.
Lalonde said the line’s distribution will be even more selective now, and the company plans to roll out a number of directly operated stores in key cities such as Miami and Shanghai. For starters, “we have secured a new location in Milan and plan to open in early 2022,” he said. The cities reflect the main collection markets, from China and America to the Middle East. Lalonde said he was considering partnering with multiple brands and that a stand-alone dealership at Harrods would remain in place.
He said the Casa line will offer more vertical and different prices, “a wider range”, in the luxury segment. Brunschwig added that the accessories will be further developed, from cushions to trays and decorative items. Dishes, linens and gifts could also be additional categories.
When asked about the impact of the pandemic on the performance of home collections, Brunschwig and Lalonde noted that there had been an increase in interest and the latter said the outdoor furniture was also working well. For example, Fendi introduced a new set of exterior designs made of bamboo, which is a wood particularly dear to Venturini Fendi.
Brunschwig noted the “record speed” at which the collection was produced. “We bring the timing of fashion to that of furniture,” he says with a smile.
Responding to a question about the designers she enjoys working with, Venturini Fendi said she admires those who create objects “with a strong personality, which have been carefully thought out, and who make me say ‘I wish I had this idea. . ‘”
There are specific Fendi references in the collection, but they are often subtle, like the Yellow Sign rug, with the fashion house‘s signature color in a stroke of paint, or the Karligraphy logo, designed by Karl Lagerfeld, in a macro allover pattern.
The collection includes items such as the Five sofa, designed by studio Marcel Wanders, presented with Metropolis, a new coffee table designed by Atelier Oi that is inspired by the iconic facade of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, with an oxidized metal base and a sequence of arches topped with iridescent glass. Thierry Lemaire designed the Grand Plié sofa and armchairs, with a worked metal structure reminiscent of the ballet movement supporting the velvet and loop pile seat.
Lemaire designed the Parsifal sofa, with armrests decorated with Fendi’s signature Pequin stripes. Cristina Celestino created the Vittoria sideboard and a bed, designed by studio Marcel Wanders, has a large, nearly 10-foot headboard in a patchwork of different materials, ranging from shaved mink to wood. The Roma day bed by Dimore Studio is a revisited version of the day bed designed for the Fendi Palazzo Privé at Palazzo Fendi in Rome.
Palazzo Fendi opened in 2016 and, in addition to a sprawling store, it includes the company’s first boutique hotel, Fendi Private Suites, furnished with the brand’s house line. When asked about possible additional hotels, Brunschwig objected.
Founded in November 2018, Design Holding brings together the design, furniture and lighting companies B&B Italia, Flos and Louis Poulsen. In April, Design Holding reached an agreement to acquire YDesign, one of the leading digital platforms in the United States for e-commerce of high-end lighting and furniture products.