FW13 Fendi models carrying the 'little monsters'
of accessories. "I was in Rio last year and I saw a friend who has a collection of tropical parrots. So the idea came from the colorful birds, but they look like little monsters. It's not so serious!"
As a business, however, Fendi is very serious indeed. Founded in Rome by Silvia's grandmother, Adele Fendi, in 1925, as a leather-goods and luggage shop that celebrated craftsmanship, it is now one of the most famous names in fashion. But while Adele laid the foundations, it was her five daughters who
brought Fendi to a global audience. Paola, Franca, Carla, Alda, and Silvia's mother, Anna, joined the company in 1946, each responsible for a different aspect of the business. But it was Anna who was renowned for her creative vision, her innate sense of style and the glamor she brought to the House
of Fendi – skills inherited by Silvia. "Carla was 'The Brain'; my mother was 'The Creative'," she remembers. "I hope that I am a mix of the two – creative with a brain."
“I don’t remember the first time I met him [KARL Lagerfeld], he was always just there”
When she was just four years old, Silvia met the man who would play a hugely significant role in her life, when her aunts hired a young designer to helm the ready-to-wear line: Karl Lagerfeld. It was almost two decades before he became creative director of Chanel, but Silvia knew he was special. She was always a fixture in the atelier, poking in drawers or watching Lagerfeld work. She even modeled, aged six, in his first campaign. "I don’t remember the first time I met him, he was always just there," Silvia says. Are they like family?
Baguette bag on
the spring/summer 2000 runway
Silvia in Lagerfeld's first advertising campaign in 1965, aged six (right)
Silvia and Lagerfeld
at Fendi's 2007 landmark runway
show on the Great Wall of Chinacredits
Photogaphs: ASP; Getty Images