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One of fashion’s most timeless designs is, without a doubt, Fendi’s Baguette bag that Silvia Venturini Fendi created in 1997. Its stylish and functional silhouette—the signature rectangular shape paired with a short shoulder strap—has turned it into a fashion and pop-culture phenomenon.
And now, the company is launching a new project that celebrates Italian craftsmanship through its iconic Baguette bag. The “hand in hand” initiative calls upon some of Italy’s best ateliers and workshops to interpret the Baguette by applying their unique skills and, in this way, transforming the bag’s classic construction into a veritable objet d’art.
“I am developing a special project with Italian artisans, each one selected from a different Italian region. The first example is the leather Baguette bag that was presented on the Fall/Winter 2020-2021 catwalk. It is made in Tuscany by a man who normally makes small leather goods all by hand in small quantities,” wrote Fendi’s Creative Director Silvia Venturini Fendi in a press release. “He makes everything by himself. It’s made of vegetable leather, very natural, and there is no stitching, it’s just bonded. My aim now is to explore every Italian region and select the best artisans still working today —and then expand the project worldwide,” she explained.
The workshop in question is the Florence-based Peroni where, today, the third generation of Peroni—Maurizio and Marco, handcraft small leather goods using an old Florentine technique called ‘cuoio artistico fiorentino.’ It is a time-consuming process that consists of the wetting of the leather and then placing it on a wooden form to give it the desired shape without using any stitches or lining.
Fendi also collaborated with lace artisans from the small village of Nardò in the Puglia region. Their delicately looped and knotted lace designs are tatted on wooden shuttles to create concentric, flowery designs—a technique known as chiacchierino. The lacework is then applied over a padded cotton and linen base and over the surface of a Baguette bag that features a special FF buckle adorned with seed pearls.
Other collaborators include an artisan from the Marche region famous for the intrecciato technique of weaving wicker, leather, and cord that dates back to the Renaissance.
And in Veneto, Venice, the ‘hand in hand’ partnership delves into the archives of the jacquard artisans Luigi Bevilacqua. Handwoven on 18th century looms, Bevilacqua’s soprarizzo ‘over the curl’ silk and cotton velvet represents the most time-consuming ‘hand in hand’ project, as each millimeter, or .04 inches, of the rich floral brocade motif, is cut and woven by artisans who produce only a couple of inches of fabric per day.
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One of the goals of the project is to promote and preserve the craftsmanship, creativity, and savoir-faire of these local artisans that come from all over Italy. The inside pocket of each limited edition Baguette bag is stamped with the atelier’s name and location, and the gold ‘FENDI Hand in Hand’ logo.
The handbags will be available for purchase upon request.