was raised on milk— and fashion,” says the jewellery designer Delfina Delettrez, glancing over at her mother Silvia Venturini Fendi, the head of accessories at the family’s eponymous fashion house, who has turned up unexpectedly midway through the BAZAAR shoot. As a young girl, Delettrez explains, she would beg to do her homework in the atelier (or as she describes it, her “second school”), where Karl Lagerfeld was a familiar presence. “I knew that when he was in the studio, something special was going on because everything was in order,” she says. “Everybody was wearing heels and looking prettier.”
Petite and poised, her dark hair slicked back and wearing black from head to toe, the 29-year-old is emerging as the latest creative force in the illustrious fashion dynasty. Her great-grandparents Edoardo Fendi and Adele Casagrande founded the house in 1925 as a fur workshop, redesigning coats to flatter the female form. Today, Delettrez is infiltrating the traditionally male world of horology, with her first watch collection for Fendi, Policromia.
The range is inspired by the geometric layout of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome, which is home to Fendi’s headquarters. “I’ve always thought of the building as a giant sundial because of all the shadows,” she says. “Each floor has its own marble, almost like different landscapes, and then through the arches you can sometimes see a light blue sky, sometimes an amazing sunset, or dark clouds. It’s very Magritte.”
Just as Fendi customers can build the bag of their dreams, the Policromia watches are available in 20 models, and can be personalised with precious stones including malachite, tiger’s eye, obsidian, and lapis lazuli. The coloured alligator straps are handcrafted in Fendi workshops, and finished with 18-carat-gold buckles and a sprinkling of brilliant-cut white diamonds. Sophisticated layering of spheres and sectors gives the illusion of movement, even though everything is static. “I like to subvert,” she says. “I like jewellery that twirls and twists, that adapts, that changes.”
Delettrez grew up between Rio de Janeiro, where her father, the jewellery designer Bernard Delettrez, was based, and the South of France. She now lives in Rome with her 9-year-old daughter, Emma. They travel to Paris regularly for the fashion shows and for weekend breaks, so she has bought herself the bijou pied-à-terre overlooking Place de Furstenberg in the 6th arrondissement where we meet. “I really wanted to live in this particular square,” she says, “because it’s like a theatre. There’s always something going on—lovers fight; people play guitar and start singing; painters set up their easels.” (She also enjoys the fact that her great-aunt Carla Fendi lives on the opposite side.)
Silk top; satin apron; cotton trousers; and knitted and embroidered ankle boots, all from Fendi. Delettrez’s lucky lamp
A mask Delettrez made, inspired by Eyes Wide Shut