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The last Fendi show designed by Karl Lagerfeld

The Roman fashion house said goodbye to the great designer

The last Fendi show designed by Karl Lagerfeld The Roman fashion house said goodbye to the great designer

What has just gone down could not have been a regular Fendi show.
The last collection designed by Karl Lagerfeld is inevitably marked by the loss of the genius German creative. The collaboration between Karl Lagerfeld and Fendi was one of the longest-running and most prolific in the history of fashion. Karl’s genius, along with the work of Silvia Venturini Fendi, was able to transform permanently the Roman fur lab into a luxury brand sold all over the world. 

I was just a baby when I first met Karl. Our bond was very special, based on a deep and sincere affection. We respected and appreciated each other, Karl Lagerfeld was my mentor and my role model. We understood each other with just a look. For Fendi and for me, Karl Lagerfeld’s creative genius has been and will always be the guiding light that shaped the DNA of the fashion house. Silvia Venturini Fendi

The FW19 collection is a hymn to the most classic femininity, a classy and elegant return to the roots. On the runway we see the signature staples of the Roman brand: double-breasted coats, big white bows, pleated skirts were worn with logo tights, and then leather trench, leather tops and skirts, and, above all, the fur, used both in the most traditional way and in an unprecedented shirt reiteration. The accessories were very convincing, with infinite variations of the Baguette, sported also like a waist bag, and of the Peekaboo, in premium leather, and finally over-the-knee boots with a contrasting stripe on the back. This season’s pieces move away from contemporary trends, opting for more traditional and timeless items, in a palette ranging from beige, white, yellow and a few red details. The final goodbye to Karl took place with a video of him drawing, and finally signing the sketch with the words ‘Love, Karl’, which adorned also the runway. Silvia Venturini Fendi, visibly emotional, stepped out for the final bow, for the first time after 54 years alone, without her Karl. 

The longest collaboration in the history of fashion 

Karl Lagerfeld first arrived at Fendi, at the time just a fur and leather lab, in 1965, as creative director of Ready-To-Wear and Fur. The technique, the knowledge and the craftsmanship of the Fendi family meet the creativity and the vision of the German designer. Always indifferent to the anti-fur movements, Lagerfeld was able to make fur lighter and softer, turning it into a versatile and ductile item, to be worn every day. For the first time fur, especially the one of female mink, is dyed, it becomes colourful, and even embroidered, an operation that requires a high level of technical craftsmanship. Lagerfeld doesn’t work only on the development of the product, but also on the image and growth of the brand, always together with the Fendi sisters, in a relationship of total trust and collaboration. In 1966 the logo with the double F is created, one of the most recognisable symbols of the brand to this day: as at Chanel, Lagerfeld senses that logomania could become a big hit in the fashion world, a mean to make a brand immediately identifiable. In the same year, Lagerfeld designs the first Haute Couture collection in the history of Fendi, expanding the brand to new and unexplored markets, such as the United States and Japan. 

The creative genius of Karl blends with his unparalleled pragmatism and business sense. In 1969 Karl creates the first commercial Fendi fur collection, conquering a further portion of market and customer base. In the same period another line is introduced, one that by definition guarantees the most immediate and certain income for a fashion brand: cosmetics and perfumes. The definitive consecration arrives in the ‘80s when Fendi gets rid of the definition of fur brand, and turns into a fully-fledged fashion house, with menswear accessories, perfumes, sunglasses and denim. Fendi leather heritage continues with the creations of Silvia Venturini Fendi: the Fendi Baguette comes to life, one of the most sought-after and sold-out bags in the history of fashion to this day. 

At Fendi Karl develops the concept of a fashion show as a real show. Impossible not to mention the show on July 2017 entitled Fendi Great Wall of China, staged on the actual Great Wall, with a 1.550-metre-long runway, one of the most memorable and expensive events in the history of fashion; or the incredible show staged basically within Fontana di Trevi in Rome on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the fashion house. In 2015 Karl inaugurates what he defined Haute Fourrure, the first fur Haute Couture fashion show. These collections, presented once a year, blend the concept of pure Couture with the superb craftsmanship of Fendi fur labs, that through the use of luxury furs, like the ones of mink, sable, breitschwanz and lynx, expanded the boundaries of fashion creativity. 

Karl Lagerfeld will be an irreplaceable figure not only at Fendi but in the entire fashion world.