MILAN — Fendi is making quite the statement in the ever-important Far East region.
On Wednesday, Fendi unveiled Palazzo Fendi Seoul, its first flagship in the city, located in luxury retail hub Cheongdam-dong, to be followed on Friday by the opening of a store in Tokyo.
“Korea has recently become a powerful cultural phenomenon with great influence,” said Fendi chairman and chief executive officer Serge Brunschwig, ahead of his trip to the city for the opening together with Silvia Venturini Fendi, in charge of the brand’s menswear and accessories; her daughter Delfina Delettrez Fendi, artistic director of jewelry, and Kim Jones, head of womenswear.
To be sure, Fendi has five Korean ambassadors, including actor Lee Min-ho and Yujin, for example.
While not scheduling a fashion show, the brand’s couture collection was presented in the store’s VIP room, and, in addition to carrying the new spring designs, an all-black capsule was dedicated to Palazzo Fendi Seoul and available on site. The opening was marked by a party at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, designed by Zaha Hadid.
After the pandemic, the local luxury market has registered upbeat growth results. According to Euromonitor, luxury retail value sales in South Korea, which excludes duty-free shopping and the resale market, are projected to grow 8 percent year-on-year to 19.4 trillion South Korean won, or $15 billion, in 2022.
As per the most recent Fashion Economic Trends reported by Italy’s Camera della Moda, Italian exports of fashion to South Korea rose 30.2 percent to 2.17 billion euros in the first 10 months of 2022.
While available through franchisees from the ‘90s, Fendi opened a branch in Seoul in 2001, but Brunschwig underscored the relevance of this “first freestanding store on the street — it’s super important, it allows us to have the space to present the breadth of our collections.”
Spanning more than 7,720 square feet, the store, designed by Fendi’s architecture department, houses women’s and men’s ready-to-wear and fur collections, shoes, accessories, leather goods and home accessories across four levels.
The impressive facade, more than 52 feet high, is characterized by a combination of geometric diagonals in stainless steel finishing and central glass windows that converge toward the corner of the building. It is striking with its LED arches, a Fendi signature recalling those of the company’s headquarters in Rome’s Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana.
Each of the four floors is characterized by a different marble, corresponding to the metal cuts on the facade, ranging from the Arabescato Vagli — a reference to Roman churches — to the Patagonia Black and White, or the Blue Roma with its light green and camel shades and the powerful Crystal Blue marble.
The marble is juxtaposed with rough cement columns and beams, champagne metal and steel.
The handmade plaster behind the niches is inspired by the stripes of the Pequin motif.
Design pieces include display tables in custom-made bronze and bronzed glass by Roberto Sironi and Mirror artworks by New York-based artist Fernando Mastrangelo.
The stairs run from the ground to the third floor, creating an interesting perspective that frames the suspended bridge that brings shoppers to the exclusive Fendi Privè area, capturing the natural light from the skylight of the rooftop. This carries the art de la table collection and is marked by Fendi Casa plush furniture in shades of blue that match the Crystal Blue marble.
Brunschwig noted that by 2023 the flagship will attain the prestigious LEED sustainability certification, as will the new flagship in Tokyo’s Omotesando district.
A previous store in Omotesando was closed at the end of January and Fendi has “given a second life” to a building that previously housed the Oriental Bazaar, the executive said.
The structure of the striking flagship, one of the largest Fendi stores in Japan, was inspired by the Karl Lagerfeld Astuccio fur cape, Brunschwig said. “It’s very modern, the effect is extraordinary. It is super light and the arches seem to fly,” he said referring to the 15 LED arches, signature elements of the headquarters.
Fendi entered Japan more than 50 years ago and there are 35 boutiques in the country. “Japan has always been a very important market for us,one of the two main regions with the U.S.”
The store was designed by Fendi’s architecture department and spans more than 9,230 square feet and three floors.
As in Seoul, beautiful marble and rough concrete columns stand out as the main elements in the store.
Floors and walls are characterized by perspective cuts created with the alternation of materials.
In addition to men’s and women’s collections, furs, leather goods and accessories, the store carries Fendi Casa and the brand’s home decor and lifestyle accessories collection and special design pieces by Arno Declercq, Roberto Sironi and Oeuoffice.
Declercq signed three custom-made totems in brown and blue glossy steel, and three display tables in African walnut wood. A mirror and bench from Roberto Sironi’s Ruins collection stand out by the staircase.
On the second floor, in the ready-to-wear and fur room with light blue metal walls and touches of rose metal, combined with wood details, the centerpiece is the Pinac dining table by Oeuoffice, a London-based research laboratory with a focus on developing innovative objects of limited edition. The Pinac table is in light blue aluminum and tempered glass, featuring pure geometric shapes and transparencies that result in varying shades of color.
Fendi Kids is also available for the first time in a Fendi boutique in Japan.