“There is a before and after Baguette,” said perfumer Francis Kurkdjian on Wednesday night, huddled by the sofas on the second floor of the Fendi boutique in the Design District with Silvia Venturini Fendi and artist Christelle Boulé. “Before Baguette, we were talking about handbags. After the Baguette, we talk about the ‘It’ bag.”
The trio was there talking about the newest addition to the Fendi Baguette handbag lineage — the FendiFrenesia Baguette, the result of a collaboration between all three creatives. “I think today after the bag, if you go to Wikipedia you will read, ‘baguette: a kind of French bread, and a bag,” added Venturini Fendi of the bag’s enduring legacy.
The new bag, introduced exclusively at the Miami boutique in two different sizes, incorporates Kurkdjian’s patented scented leather, with a vial of the FendiFrenesia scent tucked inside each bag. It’s multisensory: you can see it, smell it, feel it and hear it (the sound of the clasp).
“When I heard that Francis had this patent, this idea, and he had this exclusive, I thought it was so natural to apply to the Baguette,” said Venturini Fendi; Maison Francis Kurkdjian is also part of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton family. “I thought, well, since the Baguette is quite a collector’s item, it would be great also to have a fragrance dedicated to the Baguette. And then the project became more and more wide with also Christelle and her idea of giving a shape to a fragrance. And so today when you think about a scent, you can visualize it, finally,” she added. “We all really like to experiment and embrace challenges, and that’s the result of a challenge: to give an image to something that’s so immaterial.”
Boulé, a young Swiss-Canadian artist, developed her technique of photographing scent three years ago as her master’s thesis project while studying at the École cantonale d’art de Lausanne.
“I wanted to capture and to be able to photograph something invisible, a perfume,” she said. “To be able to see the chemical reaction of a perfume on photo paper.” Kurkdjian sent her the perfume the day after he created it, and she took it into the photo lab to see what shape the scent would give; that shape made its way onto the bag and as part of an installation in the Design District boutique.
“When I photographed FendiFrenesia I got really contrasted whites and yellows and happy colors. This photo came to me as a sunshine,” Boulé said.
While the launch party was getting underway on the first floor, with guests including Larsen Thompson, Winnie Harlow, Austin Mahone and Olivia Culpo, Venturini Fendi was getting ready to fly back home to Italy after 48 hours in Miami.
“I come every year and I love it very much,” she said of her Miami Art Week experience. “I remember the first time I arrived 12 years ago, when we first supported Design Miami, this district didn’t exist. So it’s really amazing how this happened, how a city can be changed thanks to creativity.”