A Tribute to Fashion Executive Carla Fendi

By: Valeria Ramos

Carla Fendi with her late husband, Candido Speroni, in 2012.

Carla Fendi, former president of the eponymous Italian fashion brand,  passed away at the age of 79 in Rome last week, after struggling with a long illness. One of the five Fendi sisters, Carla played a major role growing her parents' small leather business into what is today an internationally successful luxury fashion house. 

With Carla behind the brand's marketing and commercial strategies, and Karl Lagerfeld hired as creative director in 1965, the fashion brand became recognized for its luxurious leather and fur goods -most notably the iconic "Baguette" handbags. 

Lagerfeld surrounded by the five Fendi sisters.

While the sisters sold the Fendi company to luxury goods conglomerate LVMH in 2001, the women remained involved in the maintaining the brand's loyalty to the Fendi family and their Italian heritage. 

For example, who can forget the Fendi Fall 2016 show, where, in celebration of the brand's 90th anniversary, the models walked on a plexi-glass catwalk over the Trevi Fountain. This iconic landmark of Rome has been an important cause for the Carla Fendi Foundation, which helped finance restorations for the fountain alongside the brand's new chief executive. 

Carla is survived by her sisters and their families, of which only one member remains involved in the brand. Silvia Fendi, Carla's niece, is a creative director for Fendi accessories and men's and children's wear. 

In an interview with the New York Times, Silvia described her late aunt as someone filled with great drive and passion. "She was very ambitious and driven, totally determined to make her small family company an international one in a way that was very rare for a woman in the 60's," she said.