THE LEGENDARY MAISON LAUNCHES ITS KAN I F BAG, WHICH CAN BE CUSTOMIZED TO THE TUNE OF 190 VARIATIONS OF COLOR, STRAP SIZE, AND OTHER DETAILS
BY HUNT ETHRIDG
Fendi was founded in 1925 by Adele and Edoardo Fendi during the turbulent post WWI reconstruction era a time of socioeconomic crisis which included the rise of the Fascist black shirts and Benito Mussolini’s March on Rome. Starting as proprietors of a fur and leather shop on Via del Plebiscito, just a few yards from the Piazza Venezia, the couple was modestly successful, but in 1933, added prestige de parchment to their line, a kind of leather that sports a yellowish tint, and which would quickly become their company’s chromatic identity. Using knowledge from some of the master saddlers of Rome, in 1938, their Selleria line debuted, a range of bags that is still made by hand today. In 1946, Adele and Edoardo’s five daughters joined the company, and helped create a multi product couture and accessories house that had the then remarkable distinction of being “by women, for women” as a company statement reads. The sisters also invited a young designer by the name of Karl Lagerfeld to join the effort in 1965, who among other contributions, revolutionized how its furs were made and worn, and still provides artistic direction today, along with the third generation of ladies represented by Silvia Venturini Fendi.
What comes to mind when most people think of the house is its collection of women’s bags. However, it was only because of a fluke of timing that they found their way into the broader American imagination. Fendi’s “Baguette” bag, a compact 1997 design, was made to be a small, streamlined, and carried on a short strap that was adaptable for different looks (prior, most of the popular purses at the time were large and practical, if slightly uninspired).
Shortly thereafter, as a still a relatively small Italian brand, Fendi lent Baguettes to a relatively new HBO show called Sex and the City. It worked out extraordinarily well for both parties, with Sarah Jessica Parker explaining to The Daily Mail of the time, “Having [her character] Carrie wear the Baguette was a defining moment for us, and marked the beginning of everything. The timing was perfect for the story we were telling and the character I was playing; the Baguette was the perfect embellishment. Once Fendi loaned us items, everyone was more willing to do so, which helped us dramatically in conveying Carrie’s decadence.”
As the show’s popularity increased, every woman who could rushed out and got themselves one of the now 200 different Baguette styles, catapulting the brand to national and international recognition.
Fendi, knowing what their core demographic is looking for, now offers more layered customized luxury, with the ability to pick and choose colors and designs to suit each buyer. A new bag that joins the Baguette in the bespoke department is the Kan I F, with customization applying to its strap and a variety of other details. Between the two models, there are a stunning 190 options to choose from.
“In our era, this is the ultimate expression of luxury for our clients. We are delighted to be launching Customize It, Fendi’s very first online customization service for our Kan I F bag,” explained Fendi President and CEO Pietro Beccari to Forbes. “This project came to life thanks to the partnership with [online fashion retailer] Farfetch, and we think it will be a unique opportunity to showcase our daring creativity and pioneer spirit in a new digital and modern way, combining our client’s needs of luxurious exclusivity with the maison’s blend of tradition and innovation.”
Not only is Fendi leading the way in personalized luxury, this bespoke concentration means the company is producing less waste in overstock, and is becoming more environmentally friendly and sustainable as a result.
Getting a Fendi bag tailored to individual tastes costs a considerable $4,200, and involves three months of manufacturing and processing time, but as the fashionable set knows, there’s simply no price tag for perfection.