Having spent some time in Rome, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Pier Paolo Piccioli, and Alessandro Michele before becoming Creative Director of Dior, Valentino, and Gucci, were once a team in the Fendi house.
Fendi under karl lagerfeld: a gathering place of top creative minds
If I had to choose one “Avengers Team” of the fashion industry, it was the creative division of Fendi in the 90s. The Italian fashion house’s range of accessories and furs has resonated around the world. One of the key points to that great success is probably the straightforwardness that always exists in the way designers work.
At Fendi, they do not set rigid rules, everyone’s ideas are respected and no one is afraid of “rebellion”. When Rome was named a rich fashion capital, coincidentally, a talented group of designers including Silvia Venturini Fendi, Alessandro Michele, Pier Paolo Piccioli, and Maria Grazia Chiuri were teammates led by Karl Lagerfeld.
Fame designer Karl Lagerfeld often defaulted to CHANEL. He helped the French fashion house escape from bankruptcy and build up a solid empire until now. However, Fendi was the first place Karl’s name came to light. He joined Fendi in 1967 and stood by this “blood” brand until the last days of his life.
During more than half of his life devoted to Fendi, Karl has created more than 100 collections, his contributions will forever be a bright mark in the history of the Italian “giant”. Karl’s popularity at that time attracted many young talents who wanted to work for Fendi, more precisely, to learn valuable experiences from him.
Joining Fendi in 1989, close friends Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli are members of the accessories department under the direct guidance of the “silver-headed king”. In an interview, Pier recounted his first meeting with Chiuri. When assigned to pick him up at the train station in Rome, Chiuri wore only jeans and a simple white T-shirt.
But somehow, Pier Paolo immediately felt some kind of invisible connection to her. Maria and Pier are admired by everyone for their friendship that spans more than two decades. They worked side by side from Fendi to Valentino and remained in a relationship when Maria was later appointed Creative Director of Dior.
In 1997, Silvia Venturini Fendi released the iconic Baguette bag that defined the IT-Bag concept. It is worth mentioning that Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli are both key figures in the accessory workshop during this “conception” of this cult design. The success of the bag helps the two designers become potential “seeds” in the eyes of big brands.
That same year, Alessandro Michele and Frida Giannini both joined Fendi under Silvia Venturini Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld. The two later became the Creative Director of Gucci in turn. If Anna Piaggi’s combination of colorful and “unconventional” outfits was one of Karl Lagerfeld’s inspirations, Alessandro Michele owes her mentors at fashion brands a lesson: “Creativity is not a stable thing, but a free soul.”
To say that Karl is an expert at making legends is completely justified because, in addition to the four names mentioned above, Giambattista Valli, Marco de Vincenzo, Sergio Zambon, and Anthony Vaccarello all had a period of time. honed at Fendi. Fur designs are present in Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent collections today – Karl Lagerfeld almost wrote a summary of them at Fendi decades ago. Fendi is one of the most specific examples of a place of creative discovery, existing in a highly competitive system in modern society.
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