For Silvia Venturini Fendi, the open space inside Fendi's seven-story palazzo in Rome has boosted the brand's creative vibe since it was inaugurated in 2005.
The brand, stressed Fendi, has steadily benefited from the greater proximity for the staffs of the various product categories and from a more harmonious relationship with Karl Lagerfeld, Fendi's ready-to-wear director for more than 40 years.
"Before the fur [department] and the footwear were in separate rooms, while now there's a liaison between everything and this has really helped develop a unique train of thought and vision," said Fendi, who was appointed brand accessories director in 1994. She is also men's wear director and masterminded the hit Baguette bag in 1997.
Take the fall collection, where Lagerfeld's use of technology, design and construction for Fendi's furs found an ideal partner in the Voodoo bag, a structured style with wool dreadlocks, spangles and layers of macro sequins that is the brand's best-selling style for fall.
The design offices have also helped fuel growing categories such as footwear, whose sales account for 10 percent of revenues, with the goal of doubling the figure over the next two years.
During the past couple of years, footwear sales have ballooned from 55,000 pairs in 2005 to 118,000 for fall 2007.
Footwear prices range from $330 at retail for fabric and mirror ballerina flats to $1,140 for leather boots with beaver fur. Bags and small leather goods account for 55 percent of sales; rtw and fur for 25 percent; footwear 10 percent, and other accessories, 10 percent.
To implement the footwear division, Fendi tapped renowned designer Ernesto Esposito to consult on the collections and has hired two young designers for the footwear team. "Esposito is very technical, which is great when you're making good-looking shoes that are also comfortable," said Fendi.
Fendi, in fact, challenges her team to deliver comfortable edginess like the one injected into spring's Fifties-derived platform with latex straps. Of the 150-style shoe collection, half are carried over each season, especially the sneakers.
Generally speaking, forging a new collection is an unconventional process at Fendi. "We don't work with preset themes or with trend charts, but we all toss ideas around, we communicate and express a precise vision," said Fendi. "I have a very free design approach based on research. We don't meet with the marketing division, for example."This allows her to press hard for innovation. "I never give up good quality, but in general I don't get nostalgic for one material because I like to change," said Fendi. "That said, I do have a weak spot for suede and napa."
Fendi also likes to play with poor-rich textures, as in plastic, crocodile or leather combinations.
"We work really hard, but we have so much fun because we love what we do," said Fendi. "That's what drives you."
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)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)