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An Inside Look at Fendi's Love for Cinema

By Guan Tan

 
 

The 92-year-old Italian fashion house of Fendi remains partly a family business today. Although the womenswear arm is currently helmed by the German-born designer Karl Lagerfeld, the men's division continues under the leadership of Silvia Venturini Fendi, a third-generation member of the family. 

Yet, you'd be hard-pressed to find traces of the famous Fendi family life in their seasonal runway collections. Even though fashion is theoretically considered a medium for artistic expression, the products often pivot around the audience's manner of life, which leaves little room for the designers' character. For this reason, it's also perhaps why the fashion and art debate continues to run high. 

 

Beyond the rigorous cycles of seasonal collections, however, is a wealth of clothes that various generations of Fendi family have designed. These clothes are strikingly dissimilar from their seasonal collections, but they are bound by a common thread – the cinema. Silvia Venturini Fendi reveals, "Cinema has always been an important part of our family life and of our brand." 

And the family's film repertoire is surprisingly vast. Their costume design dates back to the late Italian director, Luchino Visconti's 1974 film, "Conversation Piece". In there, the protagonist, a self-indulgent countess played by Italian actress Silvana Mangano was dressed in Fendi's fur jackets.

Fendi StudiosItalian actress Silvana Mangano pictured in a Fendi fur jacket, in the late Luchino Visconti's 1974 film,
Italian actress Silvana Mangano pictured in a Fendi fur jacket, in the late Luchino Visconti's 1974 film, "Conversation Piece".
Fendi StudiosActress Barbara Carrera clad in a Fendi fur coat, pictured in the 1983 James Bond instalment,
Actress Barbara Carrera clad in a Fendi fur coat, pictured in the 1983 James Bond instalment, "Never Say Never Again" by Irvin Kershner.

Later in 1981, film "Lady of the Camelias" by the late Mauro Bolognini. Two years later, "Never Say Never Again" by the late American filmmaker Irvin Kershner. In the same year, Frederico Fellini's "And the Ship Sails On". 

A decade later in 1993, Fendi worked with American director Martin Scorsese on his film, "In the Age of Innocence". Three years later, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical film, "Evita". In 1998, the great Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore's "The Legend of 1900". Shortly after, American director Julie Taymor's "Titus". 

Fendi StudiosMichelle Pfeiffer dressed in a Fendi fur jacket, pictured in Martin Scorsese's 1993 film,
Michelle Pfeiffer dressed in a Fendi fur jacket, pictured in Martin Scorsese's 1993 film, "In the Age of Innocence".
Fendi StudiosMadonna dressed in Fendi fur, in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1996 musical film,
Madonna dressed in Fendi fur, in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1996 musical film, "Evita".

When the millennium turned, the Fendi family picked up momentum, dressing protagonists of seven films, namely, The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), Die Another Day (2002), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Marie Antoinette (2006), I Am Love (2010), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2013), and The Young Pope (2014). 

The entire repertoire is now condensed and collated into one exhibition, celebrating the Fendi family's keen interest in cinema. 

Fendi Studios
 
 

The exhibiton, simply titled 'Fendi Studios' will showcase archival costumes that Fendi has produced for the above films. Accompany them are six movie screenings from their repertoire. The exhibition will then finish on a contemporary note with a documentary of the making of Fendi's own 2013 production, "Making Dreams: Fendi and the Cinema".

The exhibition, 'Fendi Studios' will be open to the public in conjunction with the Rome Film Fest. Free admission, at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, from 27 October 2017 to 25 March 2018.