Fendi limited edition Peekaboo bag by Sarah Coleman

For the upcoming edition of Design Miami, running from Nov. 27 to Dec. 6, Fendi has decided to give its boutique, which opened in 2015 in Miami’s Design District, a makeover.

For the project, the Roman luxury house tapped New York-based visual artist Sarah Coleman, who cut her teeth next to archi-star Peter Marino and built a name for herself by manipulating designers’ materials to rethink everyday objects through an ironic filter.

Leveraging Fendi’s archives of materials and vintage pieces, the artist, channeling a Seventies inspiration, used the brand’s bag fabrics to create patchworks of prints that she used to cover furniture pieces inside the boutique. In addition, she created collages of images from vintage magazines that she juxtaposed to Fendi’s archival pictures on the one-of-a-kind Zig-Zag chair and she covered a sofa with the FF green sustainable cotton and recycled polyester fabric.    

Coleman manipulated the fashion house’s signature Pequin striped motif and the FF logo pattern she redesigned with a playful vertigo effect. While the former was splashed on the Miami store’s facade, which was colored in Fendi signature yellow, as well as on the carpets and the displays inside the shop, the latter became the theme of a limited-edition Peekaboo handbag. The FF logo pattern, revisited with a psychedelic twist, was rendered on a yellow leather embossed style and also was embroidered with multicolor threads on a white canvas design and a white leather style enriched with phosphorescent beads.

“Fendi’s archive was very inspiring, they have never let themselves be boxed in creatively throughout their history, and this constant pushing of the boundaries helped me feel free to reinvent. I began working in my studio on a collage wall, which led to the creation of two furniture pieces for the store. My best work came from the times that I was able to fully engulf myself in the world of Fendi and its rich history, before repurposing and interpreting what I found there in a less literal sense,” Coleman said. “Working with Fendi, I was given such freedom to create — the only instruction Silvia Venturini Fendi really gave was ‘be disruptive.’ This allowed me to really experiment, to say ‘yes’ to everything and give it a chance to exist. She really empowers those around her to create without judgment, which is an amazing feeling. To experience her vision first hand is incredibly inspiring and allowed me to really push to create something I’m really proud of.”

Fendi Miami Design District store revamped by Sarah Coleman

The Fendi Miami Design District store revamped by Sarah Coleman.  Courtesy of Fendi

“I love Sarah’s sense of artistic fun and clever irony, we share this same approach to creativity so of course I was naturally drawn to her work. She communicates this so well via her Instagram, [which is] the best way to discover her pieces and [gain] an insight into her artistic world. Sarah has already been repurposing our iconic prints in her work. This invited the opportunity to see how this creativity can evolve by collaborating. Her work embodies our spirit of taking handcraft in new directions, she can reimagine the conventional into the unexpected,” said Fendi men’s and accessories’ creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi. “At Fendi we have a strong womanhood heritage and ethos, so it’s always a pleasure to work with female talents. For the Design Miami projects alone, we have worked with such fantastic names, including Cristina Celestino, Sabine Marcelis, Chiara Andreatti, amongst others. They provide the perfect complement to what we are creating with our collections. I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved with these designers and artists over the years, I can’t wait to see people’s reactions to our next project with Sarah. And who knows…this may be just the beginning of a collaboration.”

Combining Coleman’s arts and crafts approach with Fendi’s fun and ironic spirit, the Miami boutique also presents a one-of-a-kind white canvas Peekaboo bag that the Americana artist embellished with plaster and acrylic paint decorations. Coleman is the latest artist to turn the Peekaboo bag into a work of art. In fact, the project started in 2018, when Fendi asked designers and artists Chris Wolston, Kiichiro Ogawa, Oscar Wang and Teo Yang, along with Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis, to customize the Peekaboo bag in the year of its 10th anniversary.

Sarah Coleman inside Fendi Miami Design District boutique

Sarah Coleman inside the Fendi Miami Design District boutique.  Courtesy of Fendi

The first luxury label to collaborate with the Miami-based art institution, Fendi has been a presence at Design Miami for more than a decade. The brand made its debut at the Miami-based art fair in 2008, when it sponsored the Design Talks, roundtables with the world’s leading designers, including Aranda/Lasch, brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana, Tom Dixon and Arik Levy.

Last year the fashion house collaborated with design studio Kueng Caputo, formed by Lovis Caputo and Sarah Kueng, to create pieces meant to decorate the exterior colonnade of the brand’s headquarters at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome. Caputo and Kueng created 10 pieces, named “Roman Molds,” combining the brand’s supple Selleria leather with terracotta bricks. In addition, in December, during the art festival, Fendi hosted an event at its Miami boutique in the Design District to unveil the Fendi Frenesia Baguette, featuring patented scented leather created in collaboration with perfumer Francis Kurkdjian.