“Italy is famous all over the word for its craftmanship of exellence in fashion; but this fine art could be exported and teached almost everywhere. What really makes Italy unique is its incredibly rich heritage: endless creativity and exquisite taste are part of our DNA, and makes our tradition considerably valuable. That’s just what we should hand down to the youth“. She has no doubt about that. And after having breathed fashion since she can remember in one of the most prestigious italian maisons working shoulder to shoulder to one of the greatest designers of the past 30 years, Silvia Venturini Fendi certainly knows what she’s saying. The accessories, manswear and childrenswear Fendi Creative Director and Altaroma President held the last seminary of the academic year for the cycle I Professionisti della Moda at university La Sapienza on May 31st, explaining to the students why Italy should support and highlight its know-how in craftmanship as well as its ancient traditions, its strongest points in fashion – as well as in many other sectors.
People usually expect a houte-couture designer to be always elegant wearing high hills, but she showed herself in a pair of plain jeans and a simple blouse wearing flat shoes, with a light touch of make-up and a short haircut she had made herself. She completely conquered the audience when she apologized for being “a little embarassed to speak in front of such a large public”, as well as when she talked about Fendi womenswear Creative Director, the Kaiser of fashion, Mr. Karl Lagerfeld.
“Everybody is quite scared about him, but not me: I’ve known Karl since I was a child, he can be incredibly fun and generous if he likes you. He’s definitely the most well-read person I’ve ever met, I could spend hours just listening to him”. Lagerfeld joined Fendi in 1965 – far before Chanel – and this makes their cooperation the longest between a designer and a maison. He created the famous ‘double F’ logo and had, together with legendary Fendi Sisters, the revolutionary idea to use like a common fabric the fine fur which represented Fendi’s prestige, cutting it and turning inside out its lining. And it was again with Karl that in 2007 Silvia Venturini celebrated Fendi’s international success with a spectacular catwalk over the Great Wall of China.
“When my mother and her sisters called Karl almost 50 years ago they believed in this young visionary genius, and they believed in me when twenty years later I started to work for Fendissime and later on I was named Accessories Creative Director. That’s what great maisons should do: give a chance to the youth“, declared Venturini Fendi. “My chance allowed me to create in 1997 one of our best-sellers ever, the first it-bag with its own name: the Baguette. I was asked to create a minimalist bag due to late nineties’ trends, but I decided to make something completely different; the bag have been quickly selling out like hotcakes (like bread, actually!), it was a huge success which exceeded all expectations. And it all started from an act of disobedience”.
Fifteen years later, with a book celebrating the Baguette coming out on 20th June, Silvia Venturini Fendi follows the maison‘s attitude of believing in the young supporting them through Altaroma: in the past two years exposition/events like Limited/Unlimited and prestigious contests like Who Is On Next? (organized with Vogue Italia) has given high visibility to many young designers, leading them to show either in Rome or in Milan during the Fashion Week. And that’s not all: she’s giving support to craftmanship too mapping local artisans and giving them the chance to expose during Altaroma Fashion Week with the project A.I. Fair. “I’m promoting the rediscovery and the passing on of creaftmanship’s traditions, Italy’s pride, through the creation of a sort of a ‘school’ based in Rome” said the designer. “Fast fashion has lowered the product’s quality, so the aim of important maison like Fendi should be to highlight again the excellence of our handicraft – as we’re doing with our latest handmade luxury bag, the Peekaboo. And to give space to young designers, of course, as already happens in France when many prestigious brands’ creative directors are italian” concluded Silvia Venturini Fendi. “That’s what I’d like to see: big fashion maisons lead and renewed by young talented designers who understand the importance of craftmanship revitalization”.