Silvia (center) with daughters Delfina Delettrez (left) and Leonetta (right)
"In a certain way, he is." The two have worked together since 1992, when Silvia officially joined the business in the role she still holds today, despite the family selling a majority share to luxury conglomerate LVMH in 2000.
Lagerfeld may have been the first phenomenon Fendi created, but it was Silvia who created the second: the 'It' bag. "Back in 1997, bags weren’t really shown on the runway," she explains. "They were functional and boring, but we wanted them to be considered as a
“We weren’t prepared for the BAGUETTE’S SUCCESS, so we started the WAITING list”
garment." Her answer was the Baguette: the bag that has had a thousand variations; the bag that made headlines; the bag for which the 'waiting list' was invented and for which women would wait six months. "We only had five stores around the world. We weren’t
prepared for the success and
didn't have production, so we started the waiting list," she says. "I am very proud of that time, but I like to think about what is next – I learned that from Karl."
Silvia is an innovator and likes to experiment, although now it is with the Peekaboo, 2Jours and Selleria bags, rather than clubs and parties from her days as the queen of the Italian social scene. When it comes to her own style she is more restrained, wearing a palette of black, white and gray, and her signature white shirts made by the company that supplies the Vatican. "It's 'clerical chic'," she says. "I went to Catholic school and we wore a uniform – I like to dress in a linear way." It is a discipline she inherited from her grandmother, who only wore navy.
"After the war everyone was discovering fashion, but she was only interested in what she liked. She was a very strong woman." Family is incredibly important to Silvia, and while she is now the
only Fendi still working in the
atelier, last month a fourth generation Fendi collaborated
with the House. Delfina
Delettrez, Silvia's 25-year-old daughter (she also has a son,
Giulio, 28, and daughter,
Leonetta, 16), is a successful
jeweler in her own right, but at Milan Fashion Week in
September she created the
jewelry shown on the Fendi
catwalk, inspired by the 'little monsters'. "It is a story that is continuing," says Silvia of her daughter. "I am very proud and happy about that. We put a lot of messages into a mixer [at Fendi], but in the end something comes out that has longevity." And a little playfulness, of course.
SILVIA’s go-to pieces
"Fendi does timeless
pieces you can wear forever."
"A beautiful shirt is what I really look for – well cut and appealing."credits
Photograph: Getty Images