Italian fashion force Carla Fendi dies aged 79

Italian fashion force Carla Fendi dies aged 79

Italian fashion legend Carla Fendi passed away in the third week of June 2017 in Rome.

Carla served as the company’s president until the fashion house was sold to French luxury group LVMH in 1999, after which she served as honorary president. “She was for all of us a source of inspiration and an example of dedication, culture of work and sensitivity to beauty”, the company said in a statement.

Carla played a key role in developing and expanding the family business along with her four sisters, transforming it from a humble leather and fur store in Rome into an internationally revered brand.

In 2007, she set up the Carla Fendi Foundation, which funded the restoration of Rome’s Trevi Fountain in 2016 and has been a patron of Italy’s National Academy of St Cecilia classical music institution since 2010.

She joined the firm in the 1950s, and along with her sisters, in 1965 she hired young German designer Karl Lagerfeld, who launched the House’s first ready-to-wear collection in 1977 and who marked his 50th anniversary with the brand previous year.

A year later they hired a young designer named Karl Lagerfeld who helped catapult the Italian brand into global fame by elevating fur from staid symbols of luxury to fashion pieces, acquiring lightness and softness, becoming easier to wear and less pompous.

“Five sisters were too much”, said Lagerfeld, who has often been referred to as the sixth Fendi child, after the deal was announced. While never abandoning completely their heritage, the brand started placing fur as the lining of silk coats, or weaving it into fabric or making patchwork pieces, while putting more emphasis on its accessories along with its clothing lines.

“For her nothing was impossible”, Venturini Fendi told RAI state television.

An avid collector of 20th-century European art and design, she was also chief patron of the Two Worlds arts festival in the Umbrian city of Spoleto.

On Instagram, Ms Simone Marchetti, fashion editor of Italian newspaper La Repubblica, wrote “how important it is to leave a trace not just on fashion and on business, but most of all on art, beauty and theatre”.

Her husband of 55 years, Mr Candide Speroni, died in 2013.