WHISPER on the wind
FENDI’s The Whispered compendium is the ultimate LUXURY primer, says Sujata Assomull Sippy
Each fashion house has it own personality, its character, DNA, and handwriting. And generally a woman is attracted to a fashion house whose characteristics match her own traits. So if you are a quiet person, with a classic style, who likes the best of the best but still enjoys an element of quirk—your wardrobe is probably full of Fendi. Since the Peek-a-boo bag, there have been two aspects of Fendi’s personality that have really come to the fore—the brand’s love of discretion and an obsession for quality. Says Silvia Venturini Fendi, “The Peek-a-boo was really about a new kind of luxury—a whisper.” In this bag, the inside is often more precious than the outside; it’s quiet, has no overt branding, and is made of the most sumptuous leathers you can find. It came in at a time when fashion majors were trying to lure the so-called recessionista. “To be trendy is to have roots,” says Silvia.this short but profound statement, in many ways, sums up the essence of Fendi—and who the Fendi woman is. And this Fendi woman would love to get her manicured hands on the Thewhispered: Directory of Craftsmanship—a Contemporary Guide to the Italian Handmakingandmaking Ability.
In the famed egg-yoke yellow of Fendi, the book comes in two volumes, and celebrates the best of ‘made in Italy’. From alabaster master workers in thetuscan town of Volterra, to traditional footwear made of cotton velvet (the furlana), the famous shops of which are close to Venice’s famed St Mark’s Square (Giorgio Armani is among its clients), most of the artisans featured in the two volumes boast of skills passed down through generations. And that is probably their strongest connect with Fendi. Also included is a tailor in Rome from whom Silvia herself had her clothes stitched, and where Silvia’s daughter Delfina’s clothes were tailored as well. Silvia is not only the head of Fendi’s style department, but is also the granddaughter of the founder of the brand, Adele Casagrande Fendi, making this global luxury brand one the few houses that still has a member of the family actively involved in the creative process. As an LVMHowned company, Fendi has Silvia as head of style, and Karl Lagerfeld as its chief designer since 1965. This maison has its roots firmly steeped in tradition, and what also sets the brand apart is that it is a Roman fashion house. Most other Italian fashion houses, whether from Milan or not, have all gravitated to that northern city. “Fendi builds its future on its past,” says Silvia. And Thewhispered Directory is very much a part of Fendi’s future. “They need to be known; we (Fendi) cannot exist without them. We exist in the context of Roman and Italian luxury. If these disappear, Fendi will disappear too.” The
book is now available in all Fendi flagship stores, including the one in Delhi’s DLF Emporio, and is a treasure trove of fabulous secret storehouses. It is a must-read for anyone going to Italy.
Alongwiththebook,youcanfind Thewhisperedd Fendi soundtrack, a road movie, and a travel kit, available for sale in the store. The kit includes sunglasses, a shawl, and also a full travel luggage selection. Of course, everything has that touch of the Fendi Selleria. Silvia’s grandmother Adele, and the founder of the brand, was a great admirer of Roman master saddlers’ craftsmanship. She collaborated with these exceptional artisans in the 1920s, and came out with a limited-edition line of bags and luggage. Fendi’s Selleria line borrows from this tradition; each piece is completely handmade and truly unique. Of course, with such a luxurious travel kit—you’ll need the right car to keep it in.
That’s where Fendi has come up with a fitting solution. Last September, at the annual Frankfurt Auto Show, the brand unveiled Maserati’s Grancabrio designed by Silvia. Maserati, as one of Italy’s finest carmakers, is part of the The Whispered. The book calls it “a showcar, no less. The force of risk, play, and talent are symptoms of vital entrepreneurship, of a territory steeped in tradition, fire and light”. Silvia, when designing this car, kept her respect for the brand foremost in mind. “It’s a Maserati car done by Fendi, and nota Fendi Maserati,” she says. When you look at the car, you instantly know it is a Maserati, but it does have a distinct look.the colours are the ubiquitous Fendi grey with touches of yellow around the wheel—so that when the car moves, it has a flame-like effect. It also gives a sense of discovery, similar to the Peek-a-boo bag. The seats, of course, are in true Selleria style, made of fine Roman leather embossed with the Fendi logo. Needless to say, this car is made in a limited edition. “We like to have projects where we go in deep and commit. That is our style,” says Silvia.
However, the car does not mark the end of the project. By spring this year, you can actually go on The Whispered Tour and discover the real soul of Italy. Get into your limited-edition Maserati, and with the The Whispered Directory as your tour guide, you can experience the best of Italy.this is Fendi’s next step forthe Whispered campaign. And who knows, on your travels, you might even find your own discoveries to be added to the directory.