To Fendi & Beyond: An Afternoon with Silvia Fendi

And while one would think collaborating with a brand with an expansive world presence like FENDI would be overshadowing for the young talent on board, Fendi explains how she uses the genius of her partners to help evolve her own brand as opposed to stripping the collaborator of their vision. “These projects are not about marketing platforms for us; what we are really interested in is the creative process. That is what makes fashion, design, or art come alive. Otherwise no one really needs a new pair of shoes every two minutes or a new chair in the house. It’s about the strength in the idea that makes you say ‘Well that’s really interesting and there’s really a value in what I’m seeing’.”

Approaching each project with innovative vision is what makes the collaborations so seamlessly organic. In the relationship between FENDI and Aranda\Lasch, the pairing of both parties’ artistic principles, including advanced technology, quality of construction, and detailed craftsmanship is what made it work so well. Aranda\Lasch’s mathematical formulas were applied to FENDI-branded objects converting them into something tangible and wearable. “Modern Primitives” elements were translated into fur and leather covered pieces, small-scale replicas of the installation were printed on fabric used as scarves and to line peek-a-boo bags. Similarly, the two explored new materials to make the project fresh. “We used a fabric called Washi which is at the same time very modern and very primitive. It’s made of rice and cotton through a technique normally used in Japan for paper but we had an Italian company transform it into fabric.” The Washi, it turns out, is anti-pollutant and medicinal—we knew shopping could be good for you.

When asked how she decides which partnerships to take on, Fendi divulges that she is passionate about sticking to projects in which she really believes, looking to constantly evolve, and always deliver a new surprise. “We decided to start these types of collaborations to support young designers and we will continue to support the creativity of young people through projects that excite us.” How does she know it’s right? “There has to be that feeling of ‘well that’s new, that’s cool, that’s something that we’ve never done; let’s do it’ and also to be amused by it, that’s where we really get a strong pleasure.” The idea of pushing boundaries purely for the world’s benefit is genuinely her driving force. It’s definitely not for profit, as the pieces created are in limited quantity and not for sale. The Aranda\Lasch-created bags, scarves, and fur throws were developed in two-piece runs and that’s it. It’s more about being at the forefront and dabbling in what she thinks will be the next wave. “I’m very interested in exploring the future; we are going to have a lot of inspiration from scientists going forward and I think the projects scientists are making is where creativity is most strong right now. What we are supporting is just challenging thinking in ways that all the creative field can benefit.”

Perhaps her passion for emerging artists lies in her Italian upbringing, one that she explains can be hindering for young talent in her country. “In Italy, we really feel the gap between generations because the history is so heavy that for young people to emerge is sometimes very difficult.  It’s not like in the States where if you have a good idea and you are young and you go with it, you can make it easily. Maybe that’s why we like so much to support young people.”

And her young fledglings grow leaps and bounds after flying her coop. Fendi has the grin of a pleased parent as she recalls a favorite Miami memory from the week: “Last night I went and I saw Simon Hasan who presented his first installation in Milano and now he’s huge. We were instrumental in giving him that visibility. I feel proud.”