"Designed by women for women, from one generation to the next, Fendi can almost be described as a matriarchal house, given the absolute predominance of women not only in professional roles but also in the rich variety of symbols, references, and attitudes."Fendi Roma, 2016
To kick off Women's History Month, we are celebrating Fendi, and the women behind the matriarchal Roman luxury house. After Edoardo Fendi and his wife, Adele Casagrande established the brand in 1925, the luxury label was soon passed on to their five daughters, Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla, and Alda. These women are responsible for turning Fendi into the revolutionary brand it is today.
Each sister took on a different sector of the business. The oldest, Paola took on the fur department—an especially male-dominated division—and became one of the top specialists in the field. Anna's intuitive creativity allowed her to become the executive director of all bags and leathers, and Franca used her retail experience to manage the boutiques and compile reports. Carla became Fendi's strategist and head of brand marketing and communication, and finally, Alda went on to run the fur workshop and the atelier. While introducing creative ideas and designs, the five sisters always managed to maintain the brand's core values that personified the complex femininity Fendi stood for, and still stands for today.
On the left, The Five Fendi Sisters, Courtesy of Fendi. On the right, the five Fendi sisters at the launch of their signature fragrance, February 1987, New York. Photographed by Thomas Iannaccone
"Fendi's concept of a woman is multifaceted: urban and wild, sensual and sophisticated, mysterious and magnetic, aristocratic and bohemian, she is not afraid to stand up or stand out."Fendi Roma, 2016
A succession of intelligent and talented women led Fendi for ninety years with just one exception: Karl Lagerfeld. Karl joined the brand as Creative Director in 1965 and worked alongside the five sisters for 50 years. This particularly unique partnership was incredibly successful because of Karl's ability to create powerful and confident feminine silhouettes by capturing the essence of the the women he worked with.
Fendi represents an all-encompassing feminine beauty. Many of the world's most influential fashion icons, like Sofia Loren, Princess Diana, Sarah Bacall, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Sarah Jessica Parker, have beautifully worn Fendi's designs over the years, and have become part of the brand's rich heritage.
To support the dynamic and charismatic women behind the brand, shop vintage Fendi here.
"When Adele died in 1978, her family, friends, and partners told extraordinary stories about the founder and matriarch—a visionary woman, always ahead of her time," writes Fendi Roma. "She was an experienced professional with high standards and a keen sense of beauty, which she applied every day with passion and dedication. She didn't need to impose her authority. She was the authority."Fendi Roma, 2016