From humble beginnings growing up in her family’s small leather workshop in Rome to her role in turning Fendi into the powerhouse it is today, Carla always had the glamour of fashion coursing through her veins: ‘Accessories were our first toys,’ she once told Women’s Wear Daily. Carla joined the family business in the 1950s, taking on the task of marketing and PR, and is widely credited with the label’s impressive success in America.
She had an excellent relationship with creative director Karl Lagerfeld, who joined the brand in 1966 – the 50th anniversary of which was celebrated last year. It is a role he has shared with Carla’s niece Silvia Venturini Fendi, daughter of her sister Anna, since 1994.
In addition to her work at Fendi, Carla established the Carla Fendi Foundation in 2007 ‘with the aim of contributing to the preservation of cultural heritage and values from the past, and to guarantee their continuity and future growth, primarily in the art, literature, cinema, fashion, environment and social sectors’. Her philanthropic work is recognised worldwide and has sealed her reputation as one of the fashion industry’s most admired figureheads.
The Fendi company has released a statement saying 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 the four sisters until her last days. She was for all of us, a source of inspiration and an example of dedication, work culture and sensibility for beauty. She will accompany us forever.’