F is For…Fendi
There is no place in the world where Fendi doesn’t ring a bell. Launched in February 2017, Fendi’s F IS FOR project spearheads innovation and development inside the LVMH group and is a forever-young platform intended to explore the Roman vibes and the Fendi heritage through creativity and a relevant approach to the future meant as the younger generation.
F IS FOR… FENDI is an accurate reflection of the Fendi’s DNA that addresses the fresher side of the brand in a careful sense of elegance and modernity. It is all about freestyle art world where young creative people from all over the world focus their inspiration on amazing original performances on the rooftop of Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, the breath-taking Fendi headquarters in Rome. The F IS FOR… FENDI identity also explores the archive pieces of Fendi as well as deepens into interviews [Faces] and editorials [Fulgore], thus providing a 360o vision on Fendi’s past, present and future.
A version of this exclusive interview first appeared in the pages of the 15th issue of ODDA Magazine.
Let’s start from the very beginning. What is exactly F IS FOR… FENDI? What does it stand for?
I thought of F IS FOR… FENDI as a project complementary to Fendi. It is an open invite to everyone, a point of view that celebrates the Fendi’s DNA in a very authentic yet complementary way. Fendi’s Roman roots, daring creativity, unique savoir-faire and its strong link with design are key elements, which are relevant to the younger generations, too. With F IS FOR…FENDI, I want to share these values in a different way, through a different language and perspective.
How did it all start and why did you feel like you needed such a novelty inside Fendi?
When I conceived this project, two years ago, I thought that the best way of communicating with new generations was to start from their own values. Since then, I decided to break down the boundaries between me and my team of millennials, in order to make this concept relevant from the beginning. Acting like a “start-up within the company,” we came up with new and disruptive ideas. We experiment with the Fendi values in different fields, consolidating the F IS FOR… FENDI identity with our strong link with the city of Rome and the graffiti art, hip-pop music and (extreme/ league) sports.
Regarding the Fulgore shootings, the impression is that F IS FOR… FENDI grounds its images on a very spontaneous mood despite a precise art direction behind the scenes. What is effectively impromptu?
Fulgore is an Italian word that means “vivid and dazzling brightness.” That is why we decided to give this name to the section dedicated to our vision of contemporary fashion. It features the F IS FOR… FENDI editorials, always including male and female models together. On set they can feel free, act as they want, without posing. Images are shot with iPhones by young photographers to capture the moments as they are, imperfections included.
Freak can be a very thorny word somehow, and the young models and artists who have the privilege to be part of the F IS FOR… FENDI crew are called freaks… Why this word choice? Is it a reclaiming?
We chose the word “freak” as per its “urban dictionary” meaning. Freaks are generally into youth culture, self-actualization, discovery, and self-image. They are interested in disruptive subjects or want to be the first to do something, which directly links to the F IS FOR… FENDI crowd. A team of new talents coming from very different backgrounds, a crew made of people who can express their freestyle creativity.
One of the new symbols the Maison is trying to produce is, indeed, the new Fendi headquarters Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, a.k.a. “Colosseo Quadrato” in Rome. Tell us more about what happens up on the rooftop and why it is so important to F IS FOR… FENDI?
I see the rooftop of Palazzo Della Civiltà Italiana as a white canvas where artists can share their talent, creativity and free spirit.
By creating unexpected things in an unexpected place as our rooftop, they celebrate the Fendi motto stating that “nothing is impossible.”
What is the relationship between patronage and commodification of art in F IS FOR… FENDI, like The Ring of The Future graffiti created by six young artists on that famous HQ rooftop, afterwards turned into an idea for a t-shirt?
This project was on my mind since the first day and I didn’t know what to expect as end-result. What came out was beyond my expectations. The 6 artists of The Ring of the Future had been invited from all over the world: UK, Iran, USA, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea, and wrote the word “FUTURE” in their own language inside a yellow ring. It recalled a visual embrace and embodied new generations’ hope to overcome cultural barriers and diversity. Then, the graphic was so strong and the message behind it so deep, that the style department at Fendi decided to take inspiration from it and create a t-shirt dedicated both to men and women.
“WE CHOSE THE WORD “FREAK” AS PER ITS “URBAN DICTIONARY” MEANING. FREAKS ARE GENERALLY INTO YOUTH CULTURE AND SELF-ACTUALIZATION”
Fendi’s “New Rome”: real city or ideal city?
The “New Rome” is a real city. It is the one experienced by the Roman Millennials. It is unexpected and full of secret spots to be discovered. It is less traditional and more industrial, and is very much linked to the graffiti art.
Why graffiti art is so important to F IS FOR… FENDI?
The conversation around graffiti art is often controversial, when in fact it is a form of art just like any other that allow millennials to express themselves freely and creatively. This is the reason why we have embraced it as a part of the F IS FOR… FENDI‘s DNA. It recalls Fendi’s craftsmanship and savoir-faire in a whispered, unexpected, contemporary and “meet the zeitgeist” way. To further strengthen this link, our upcoming rooftop performance involves Roman street artists painting on the FENDI roof, celebrating their creative talents as well as the beating art-heart of Rome.
Tell us more about this new and upcoming performance.
After exploring graffiti from all over the world, we decided it was time to embrace Rome and celebrate the street art within the city by hosting 8 local artists on our rooftop. They each have interpreted the word “graffiti” in their own style by writing it inside a world map. To me, the idea of every artist personalizing his own world portrays the symbolic meaning of street art and talent spreading out from Rome to the world.
Overall, F IS FOR… FENDI is definitely a young and unique project that looks to be working wonders into creating new, easy and fresh aesthetics. What are the next goals to achieve in the next months ?
Fendi has an incredible heritage and my biggest wish is that young generations will have access and enjoy whilst being able to discover and experience it.
F is for?
F is for…FEARLESS FUTURE!
As Mrs Cristiana Monfardini has appointed, Fendi has an incredible heritage, and the Fashion house is aim to make the new generations, the millenials, to enjoy and feel the Roman roots and the future ahead. Graffiti is a connection between cultures and art with a touch of new waves and, because of these and other reasons, Graffitis will be part of the next Les Journées Particulières, on October 12th, 13th, and 14th 2018 at Fendi HQ, Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome, providing millenials and all the generations the chance to discover how the master artisans of the fur atelier will create a one-of-a-kind fur graffiti-inspired inlayed tablet using discarded material.
Graffitis are always there… when you pass by the tunnel, after a night out at the club, you see them. In the morning, tiredness still dwelling in your eyes, you get on the metro, and you see them. At that newly-opened pub in that cool spot in town, while you are having an “aperitivo” with your friends, you see them. Sometimes, they are dark and gloomy; some others, they are carefree and colorful. Think about how many you see in one day or how often. They are the ultimate manifestation of the urban and post-urban reality people our age are living and a FREE way of expression. Fendi provides a message through them… Freedom, culture and a whole manifesto on how to connect mind and words with an image, a message. For instance, with the rooftop graffitis at PDCI happening by multiple artists coming from all over the world with F IS FOR… FENDI .
Les Journées Particulières, created in 2011 by Antoine Arnault, aims to make everybody including the main maisons composing the group with a nourished and strong cultural heritage, part of this experience. Out of the group stands out Fendi, owning one of the strongest identities.
If you haven’t realised yet what the Fendi artisans can do with their hands, if you don’t believe me, you can see it with your own eyes.
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