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A New Fendi Flap for Karl Lagerfeld?

PARIS — Expect an added element of intrigue at the Fendi show next week (Sept. 29) in Milan, as tensions flared Monday between the Rome fashion house and its ready-to-wear designer, Karl Lagerfeld.<BR><BR>In an article published in the Italian...

PARIS — Expect an added element of intrigue at the Fendi show next week (Sept. 29) in Milan, as tensions flared Monday between the Rome fashion house and its ready-to-wear designer, Karl Lagerfeld.

In an article published in the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera, Lagerfeld cites a revolving door of managers at Fendi and shortcomings in its design organization. He also is quoted about the difficulties of running a fashion business in Rome and the general challenge of mounting rejuvenation miracles in fashion today.

Reached in Paris Monday night, Lagerfeld said he granted the newspaper an interview only about his new collaboration with Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Maurtiz. He declined comment on the Fendi article.

A spokesman for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, parent of Fendi, declined all comment.

However, sources in Europe suggested that the published remarks ruffled a few feathers at the luxury giant, which has remained quiet regarding its strategy for the Italian fashion, fur and accessories house. LVMH recently described Fendi as being in an investment phase.

LVMH and Prada Group jointly acquired 51 percent of Fendi in 1999, with LVMH buying Prada’s stake in November 2001. It also has been buying out shares held by Fendi family members.

Lagerfeld, who has designed for Fendi for more than 35 years, has often been vocal about inner turmoil at the company, including during the time the founding family owned it.

According to market sources, Lagerfeld has several seasons left on his current contract with Fendi, but negotiations to renew it may have already commenced.