Carla Fendi Passes Away in Rome


Carla Fendi, the fourth sister in the iconic Italian Fendi family, has died at the age of 79 in her hometown of Rome, Italy. Along with her sisters, Paola, Anna, Franca, and Alda, the fivesome transformed the family’s small leather business, founded in 1925, into a globally run luxury fashion house, known for its furs and accessories.

According to WWD, the family said in a statement that Carla “never stopped to actively contribute with unchanged passion to the success of the company that continued to be a reason to live; from the first international recognitions obtained with the help of four sisters until her last days. She was for all a source of inspiration and an example of dedication, work culture and sensibility for beauty. She will accompany us forever.”

After completing her classical studies, Carla joined the family business in the 1950’s. She opted out of the creative design process within the brand, but took on responsibilities surrounding its PR and marketing. She is fiercely credited with the label’s successful expansion in the U.S. In 1964, the sisters opened their first Fendi store in Rome’s historic epicenter. Just two years later in 1966, Carla brought in the then-young designer Karl Lagerfeld, who steered the brand towards further success; He recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the Fendi family.

Carla served as the family’s public face in the industry and would become Fendi’s president until they sold to the French luxury group LVMH in 1999. In support of the brand’s strategic sellout was Lagerfeld, who said, “Five sisters was too much. And they were not speaking. The husbands were all happy when they sold.”

In her later years, Carla dedicated her time and patronage to the arts, establishing the Carla Fendi Foundation in 2007. According to the organization’s website, the foundation aims to preserve cultural heritage and values from the past, and to guarantee the growth and continuity of the arts, literature, cinema, fashion, the environment, and social sectors. In 2008, she was honored as the life-long honorary president of Fendi.

As one of the industry’s overall founding figures in the luxury movement, Carla Fendi will be remembered as one of the great pioneers in the business of fashion.


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