There may be many aspiring handbag vendors who are dreaming of repeating the Fendi handbags story. It is a classical Italian fashion success story that also has a fair element of good fortune about it. However, as people understand, being in the right place at the right time counts for a great deal and the Fendi story is no exception to this fact.
The Beginnings of Fendi Handbags
Two partners, Edoardo Fendi and Adele Casagrande, founded the Fendi Company in 1925; both were leatherworkers in Rome. In fact, Adele Casagrande had set up her own workshop in 1918 in Rome. After the two business partners were joined together, the company name Fendi was adopted 7 years after their activity started. Right from the outset, Fendi really focused on the quality of the handbags that were produced. From the beginning the Fendi name became synonymous with quality and attractive design.
The Early Years of Fendi Handbags
With a core focus on designing quality leather products, including handbags, and also being able to work skillfully with furs, the quality of the Fendi handbags began to make its name across Italy in the 1930s and early 1940s. Not only did Fendi start to receive attention amongst the fashion elite in Italy, but rich tourists from other countries such as France and the United States would consider taking at least one Fendi home after a visit to Italy as an absolute must. Fendi decided that the production capacity as well as the ability to distribute their handbags would need to be increased, and an additional production plant was opened in the Veneto region of North East Italy before the second world war broke out.
Post War Years
In the aftermath of the second world war, Fendi was well positioned to return to the expansion plans that had been in place before it began. The original owners decided the time was right to hand over the executive management of the company to the next generation, who would be able to embrace and develop new techniques and ideas that were entering the handbag production industry. However, one essential was never compromised, this was the rigid attention to top quality material and the professional manufacturing standards of the handbags.
The Arrival of Karl Largerfeld
As part of the post war changes, new designers, who were seen as the emerging talents, were added to Fendi’s design team. From 1946 onwards, Fendi had the services of some of the top emerging fashion designers in its ranks. Of these, Karl Largerfeld is perhaps the most famous. However, before 1965 he was only known in the inner circles of fashion design, but all that would change. Largerfeld had been extremely active in developing new skills and techniques, both for the working and treatment of leather to make it softer and more malleable, whilst at the same time making the handbags that Fendi produced more hardwearing. At the same time he and his team had developed now methods of leather tinting to make sure that the attractive colors of Fendi handbags were noticed by a discerning public.
Fendi Moves Onto the International Stage
1966 marked the first presentation of the Fendi collection. The double lined F of the Fendi logo was unveiled and the company had really come of age. Demand for fashion shows in Japan and the United States rapidly followed, together with the opening of Fendi shops in the principal fashion capitals across the world. Fendi was one of the earliest fashion design houses to recognize that it could profit from its excellent reputation in high-class handbag designs by opening a line of products for those with more limited budgets. In 1969 lower cost leather products, including handbags, became available, but still recognized as being of a higher quality of production than many similarly placed rival producers.
The 1980s and Beyond
The 1980s saw the arrival of mass demand for designer label products and Fendi was not immune to the attraction of this market opportunity. During this decade, sunglasses, jeans and even home furnishings were added to the Fendi portfolio. In the 1990s, following the trend of many fashion houses, Fendi was sold to Prada and LVMH, giving the security of being part of a larger business group. However, this did not cause Fendi to lose its identity. Karl Lagerfeld, in collaboration with Silvia Fendi Venturini, have remained firmly in control to make sure that Fendi handbags are as recognizable and of the same quality as they have always been.