Franca Fendi photo

Franca Fendi, Inheritor of Italian Fashion House, Dies Aged 87

Franca Fendi, one of the five sisters who inherited a small Roman leather goods workshop and together transformed it into a luxury fashion house, has died in Rome. She was 87, as reported by The Guardian.

Born in 1935, she participated from a young age in the management of the company that from the 1960s onwards, under the guidance of the sisters, became a global luxury powerhouse famed for its reimagining of the classic fur coat.

Her parents, Edoardo and Adele Fendi, had founded the fashion house in 1952, starting from a small bag and fur shop in Via del Plebiscito. The Fendi sisters – Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla and Alda – later revealed that they were often forced to sleep in drawers in the shop owing to their parents’ long work hours.

When, after a stroke, Edoardo left control of the brand to his daughters, Franca became purchasing manager. In 1965 she and her sisters brought in Karl Lagerfeld, then a young designer, with the goal of creating a women’s ready-to-wear-line.

The German creative director may have been better known for his work at Chanel, but it was to Fendi that he devoted 54 years of his working life – the longest ever collaboration between a designer and fashion brand – becoming what the Fendi sisters described as an honorary member of her family.

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