Ilaria Venturini Fendi, sporting a necklace that jangles with a row of her old house keys, is camped out in a dim corner of the L'Eclaireur restaurant in Paris.
Resembling a jolly market vendor, 40-year-old Fendi — the younger sister of Sylvia, who heads up leather goods for the namesake Roman fashion house — sits surrounded by the latest offerings from her high-end eco-conscious bag line, Carmina Campus. Now into its fourth season, the collection will be presented for the first time during Milan Fashion Week.
Like a magpie's nest, the collection's vibrant bags, produced by artisans around Italy, are constructed using a patchwork of salvaged materials that Fendi picks up trawling markets and bargain basements around Florence and Rome. Kooky cushion covers collide with swatches of deck chair fabric on one model, while one tote started life as an oversize knitted African hat. Elsewhere, pushing the boundaries of utilitarian chic, Fendi transformed silver mesh pot-scrubbing pads into a twinkling evening purse.
Leveraging her industry contacts (the designer used to oversee shoes and the Fendissimo line for Fendi), many scraps are also donated by various mills, she said.
The line, ranging in price from $300 to around $2,000 at retail, is distributed in an exclusive crop of stores, including L'Eclaireur, 10 Corso Como and Dover Street Market.
But Fendi is quick to insist the collection's raison d'être has anticonsumerist motives, as one of a number of projects she has geared toward promoting sustainability. Up to 20 percent of proceeds are donated to various charities.
Fendi named the brand after an organic farm she is establishing at a former dump site on the outskirts of Rome. "I have 700 rams and make my own cheese. I work from a little studio with a view of my vegetable allotment," she said, acknowledging it's a far cry from her past, growing up in the Fendi studios where she would "eat fashion for breakfast, lunch and dinner."
"When we sold the brand to LVMH [Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton], I decided that it was time to reevaluate life's values," she said, adding that she also hopes to house some of Italy's artisans on the farm.On March 1, Fendi will open her first store, Re(f)use di Carmina Campus, dedicated to recycled objects. As well as her bags, the three-story space at 39-40 Via Fontanella Borghese will stock furniture by designers such as Volksware.
Fendi's nascent jewelry line will also be showcased at the boutique, including bracelets made from bicycle chains. "This was made using my daughter's Barbie," said Fendi of a drop earring featuring a freshwater pearl cupped inside a miniature pink plastic hand.
"Fashion has become so disposable, it's worrying. If you make something today, tomorrow it's already old and I don't want to get caught up in that cycle again," she said. "The world needs something different."
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)