Carla Fendi, face of
famous Italian luxury brand, dies aged 79
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[June 20, 2017]
By Philip Pullella
(Reuters) - Carla Fendi, one of the five Italian sisters
who transformed their parents' small leather workshop
into an international luxury fashion powerhouse, has
died at the age of 79, the family said on Tuesday.
Fendi, who died late on Monday
and was the fourth of the sisters, was the public face of the
company famous for its line of colorful "baguette" bags that
cost thousands of dollars.
While other members of the family were the creative forces,
Carla concentrated on promoting the company brand, whose logo of
two F's, one of them upside down and backwards, became an
internationally recognized symbol for luxury.
The multinational LVMH luxury group gained a controlling stake
in Fendi in 2001 in a deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars
that brought together some of the world's most famous luxury
brands. LVMH significantly increased its stake later.
It was a far cry from the family's humble origins nearly a
The sisters' mother, Adele Casagrande, opened a small leather
workshop in 1918 just off Rome's bustling Piazza Venezia.
Adele Casagrande married Eduardo Fendi in 1925 and the two
opened a small boutique next door and lived above the shop.
The five sisters were born between 1931 and 1940 and as children
they played among the leather shreds on the shop floor and slept
amid the handbags.
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"Accessories were our first toys," Carla Fendi once
told Women's Wear Daily.
The sisters moved to company to the chic neighborhood around Rome's
Spanish steps in the 1960s and in later expanded into ready-to-wear,
shoes, perfume, household goods and children's wear.
The company received a big boost from the creative collaboration of
Karl Lagerfeld, who helped in the design of clothes, furs, and
Animal rights activists frequently protested against the company for
its use of furs.
In her later years, Carla Fendi became a well-known patron of the
arts. Deeply committed to Rome and its culture, her foundation
financed the restoration of the city's famous Trevi Fountain.
She was also a chief patron of the Two Worlds arts festival in the
Umbrian city of Spoleto.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
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