Fendi Opens a New Chapter of Its History in Shanghai

    Fendi’s love for China was recently celebrated with a catwalk show titled Roma in Shanghai, representing a major step forward for the brand.
    Fendi’s love for China was recently celebrated with a catwalk show titled Roma in Shanghai, representing a major step forward for the brand. Photo: VCG
    Susanna NicolettiAuthor
      Published   in Fashion

    Fendi’s love for China was recently celebrated with a catwalk show titled Roma in Shanghai, which also featured a moving tribute to its creative director of 54 years, Karl Lagerfeld.

    This is only the second major Fendi event to take place in China over the past 12 years and represents a major step forward for the brand. By showing 100 looks from their Autumn/Winter 19/20 collection (15 of which have never been presented before) to a star-studded parterre filled with 600 influential guests like Chinese actor and singer Timmy Xu and model You Tianyi, Fendi created yet another epic moment to add to its long history of fashion achievements.

    The chosen location was the Powerlong Museum in Shanghai: a stunning 23,000 square meter museum that features a large, breathtaking minimalist ramp that spirals around the central building. The site was drenched all in white — one of the favorite colors of the late Silvia Venturini Fendi, one of the brand’s creative directors and the granddaughter of Fendi’s founders, Adele and Edoardo Fendi.

    Silvia Fendi herself was the mastermind behind many of the label’s best-selling bags, from the Baguette to the Spy and the Peekaboo. She’s contributed to the creative growth of the brand since 1992 and, remarkably, is the only member of the founding family still on the company’s board.

    Growing from a troubled brand at the end of the '90s into a billion-euro turnover twenty years later, Fendi is one of the masterpieces of Bernard Arnault’s LVMH brand conglomerate. He succeeded in preserving the brand’s DNA and heritage thanks to the heavy involvement of Silvia Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld, which brought a unique brand of “cool” to the label. It's no coincidence that the two most recent turning points of the brand’s history happened in China.

    The first was in 2007 when the brand held the unforgettable fashion show on the Great Wall of China, an effort in investment and energy that took almost two years to create but placed Fendi on the Mount Olympus of the fashion brands. More than the collections, it became an event that refreshed the brand perception and put the Roman house amongst its most prestigious competitors, including Dior and Chanel. This event alone justified everything that LVMH put into the relaunch of Fendi.

    From the opening of Palazzo Fendi in 2005 to the Great Wall show in China, every action demonstrated that the brand, headed by the duo Silvia Fendi-Karl Lagerfeld and the energetic direction of Michael Burke, was working with a precise vision and tenacity that was indeed the right path towards global success.

    Silvia Venturini Fendi is a discreet, understated iron lady, devoted to her family and the company, she is also an art lover, a curious explorer, and an unstoppable force of nature deeply passionate about her job. Being most part of the fashion business made by leather goods, Silvia Venturini Fendi herself largely contributed to the revenue’s growth of the past years. She is also one of the best talent scouts in the industry, as the likes of Gucci Alessandro Michele and Frida Giannini, Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Valentino’s Pier Paolo Piccioli along with designers like Giambattista Valli worked in her team at the beginning of their careers. And Virgil Abloh and Kanye West also collaborated with her well before becoming stellar celebrities.

    Her mentor has always been Karl Lagerfeld and she said on this occasion that he taught her everything, and especially:

    • To always look for more
    • To think outside the box
    • To always look to the future

    It seems that the end of the Shanghai show marks a special and virtual passing of the torch from Karl to Silvia with Fendi CEO Serge Brunschwig publicly congratulating Silvia Fendi by raising her arm in a sort of symbolic acknowledgment of a victory. And no accolade could be more deserved.

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