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BEVERLY HILLS — The bag that defined a generation of accessories is back at the relaunched Fendi flagship here.
This story first appeared in the February 6, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The baguette, introduced by Silvia Venturini Fendi in 1997, was the “It” handbag that gave birth to more than 1,000 variations.
Now an anniversary, or 10+ version, has been released to celebrate more than a decade of the must-have arm candy and coincide with the reopening of Fendi last month after extensive renovations.
The 10+ bag was introduced this fall, a small white canvas bag accompanied by 10 indelible color markers. More of the bags, in a variety of colors, will follow this spring.
Ten artists and designers, including Venturini Fendi, the brand’s accessories and men’s wear designer and granddaughter of founders Adele and Edoardo Fendi, as well as Francesca Gabbiani, Jeff Koons and Will Cotton, have designed versions of the bag that will be auctioned to support Arts for NexGen, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art free youth membership program. The bags will be displayed at the 3,000-square-foot Rodeo Drive store from Feb. 13 until early April.
“It was a matter of how can we do something that doesn’t sound like a marketing anniversary,” Venturini Fendi said. “It’s unique, and fashion is something where you are always looking forward, never back.”
The boutique, designed by architect Peter Marino, is intended to reflect the brand’s renewed focus on modern luxury. The store has a seamless glass facade, with waving curved travertine marble, steel and white aluminum panels along the interior walls and a unique skylight highlighting the area where ready-to-wear and fur collections are displayed.
Three video projectors show footage from Fendi fashion shows and other content on the sculpted-looking stone and steel work that appears to undulate just shy of the ceiling.
“This was a superfun project; it’s my favorite Fendi store,” Marino said. “We made stone and steel fly — these heavy things, we just put them in air. It’s like Fendi’s fur coats — they’re lighter than my cotton jacket. You wonder, how did they do that?”
The space was under construction from May to January, and Fendi relocated to a temporary space around the corner on Brighton Way.
Many Fendi stores worldwide are getting facelifts, an initiative that got under way at Palazzo Fendi in Rome in 2005. Other stores, including Aspen, Colo., and Hong Kong, followed. Paris; Short Hills, N.J., and Manhasset, N.Y., are next on the list, and Bal Harbour, Fla., will be the final shop to get Marino’s signature treatment, opening next year.
Chief executive officer Michael Burke said the updates were critical for the brand, which has been owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA since 2001.
“It can only be done when you have a five-, 10- or 20-year vision for the house,” Burke said. “We are condemned to doing it. We don’t have any other options because if you stand still, you die.”
The Beverly Hills store sells the full line of Fendi accessories and rtw apparel, from $500 shoes and $2,000 bags to furs ranging from $5,000 to $125,000. Burke said the store consistently has been among the company’s top stores worldwide in sales, which also include Rome, Milan, New York, Hong Kong, Geneva, Dubai, Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai.
“We are really striving for a balance in all product categories,” Burke said. “We are looking at new product categories, but nothing is definite yet. Some high-growth areas are men’s jewelry and home collections.”