A Toast to Tokyo
Justine Lee meets Silvia Venturini Fendi in the Japanese capital as the designer discusses her fascination with the country and the landmarks that make 2015 a special year for the house of Fendi
t’s the day of Fendi’s fur-only couture show in Tokyo and the city is buzzing with tastemakers and fashion VIPS who have flown in just for the occasion. Titled Haute Fourrure, the collection has been specially brought over from Rome for tonight’s much anticipated runway show at the Tokyo National Museum.
Despite the hectic schedule ahead of her, Silvia Venturini Fendi, the brand’s creative director alongside Karl Lagerfeld—she oversees accessories, menswear and the children’s line, while he fronts the women’s collection—invites me to her suite at the Andaz Hotel for coffee.
It’s a big year for Fendi. Not only does the Italian fashion house celebrate its 90th anniversary, but 2015 also marks 50 years since the brand was launched in Japan. “It was one of the first markets to really develop an interest in our furs,” says Venturini Fendi, who is the granddaughter of the fashion house’s founder, Edoardo Fendi, and the only family member to remain after Fendi was sold. “I think the Japanese way of thinking is quite similar to that of the Italians,” she explains. “There’s a strong appreciation for detailing that’s embedded in the culture. It’s almost like a way of life.”
Festivities in honour of Fendi’s 50 years in Japan kicked off in May with a charitable auction of five Peekaboo bags designed by some of Tokyo’s most revered style icons, including Japanese Vogue editor-at-large Anna Dello Russo, artist Takahashi Hiroko and actress Mao Inoue. Proceeds went to Tokyo University of the Arts. Continuing the yearlong celebrations will be tonight’s fashion show and VIP after-party.
This year also marks 50 years for Lagerfeld with the brand—venturini Fendi first met the designer when she modelled, aged six, in his first Fendi campaign. “We are constantly sharing ideas,” she says.
The Haute Fourrure collection, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week in July, is a perfect example of the pair’s collaborative relationship— most of Lagerfeld’s fur ensembles are complemented by matching miniature Peekaboo bags designed by Venturini Fendi herself. “There’s a lot of mutual trust and that comes after so many years of working together.” Clockwise from left: Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi; Venturini Fendi (far right) models at the tender age of six; the Peekaboo bags by Ryohei Miyata and Anna Dello Russo
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