It’s said a luxury label isn’t really one unless it’s housed at Bond Street. It has been London’s real estate prime-cut since the 18th century when it was the address for tony art galleries and antique shops. Expensive jewellers then made way with their items. And luxury fashion labels, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Christian Dior, Chanel, Hermes, followed. May 1 finally saw Italian fashion house Fendi stake its claim on its turf too.
It may be a little late in the day, but Fendi knows how to arrive in style. It has asked 10 influential lady Londoners to personalise its 2009 Peekaboo purse. Only three pieces of these will be released; one for the celebrity herself, the other for Fendi’s archives and the third piece will be sold at Sotheby’s online auction with its proceeds going straight to UK’s noted charity Kids Company. The celebrities handpicked to customising the handbag are performers Gwyneth Paltrow, Dame Helen Mirren, Adele, Cara Delevigne, Jerry Hall and architect Zaha Hadid, among others.
“We wanted to celebrate the opening and connect with the British community and give back to them,” says Silvia Venturini Fendi, via an email interview. “Each of the 10 handbags is truly a work of art. Growing up in a family of strong and pioneering females, I am excited that such women, leaders in their own fields, have been involved in this project around the iconic Fendi handbag,” she says.
Venturini Fendi is the third generation of the founding family. She seconds Karl Lagerfeld in creative direction and also heads the oney-spinning leather goods and accessories line. In 1994, she created the much-loved Selleria line, retrieving the Roman tradition of hand-stitching like that of saddles. Fendi is pretty much known as the inventor of the It-bag phenomenon (that drove the businesses of luxury houses) with its Baguette, Spy, B Fendi, Peekaboo and Silvana styles.
“The Peekaboo embodies the essence of Fendi’s spirit — the appreciation of rules alongside a truly unique creative ideology — and has been associated with iconic women in their fields of competences,” says Venturini Fendi.
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The New Bond Street store is located in a 19th century building with a brick and terracotta facade in the Flemish style. Besides, Fendi’s bespoke and ready-to-wear lines, the three-storied store has an entire floor dedicated to menswear. The staircase hosts a 5,600-piece Murano glass chandelier.
Pietro Beccari, Chairman and CEO of Fendi, says this is a significant year for the label as they have opened in several unrivalled locations around the world. “We have had important openings. Prior to this New Bond Street store, we opened in strategic streets such as Avenue Montaigne in Paris, Via Montenapoleone in Milan and Maximilianstrasse in Munich,”
The London store is also an art gallery for millions of Lagerfeld fans, several rooms here display photographs of Roman fountains taken by the auteur, along with sketches he has realised for Fendi.