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Fendi Baguette: history of a fashion icon

Designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi in 1997 and still contemporary in all its iconic variants

Fendi Baguette: history of a fashion icon Designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi in 1997 and still contemporary in all its iconic variants

It was the 1990s. 1997 to be exact. Fashion was going through its most minimalist period and the catwalks of the world, from Milan to New York, were being stripped of the sequins, lace, ruffles and prints that had so characterised the previous decade. The silhouette of the clothes began to lighten, the colours to soften, and every designer was starting focusing on materials: silk, leather, nylon, denim. It was also the time of Naomi, Kate and the top models, the first very famous sitcoms, the magazine-mania and celebrities’s hyper fame. The years of the advent of the Internet - only four years later Google Images was born thanks to a Versace jungle dress and an iconic J Lo - of the Met Gala presided over by Anna Wintour. Those were almost the years of Sex and the City and Carrie Bradshaw, the years around the turn of the millennium and the comeback of pop culture. That was a time without social media. And yet, it was 1997 and at Fendi the first real it-bag in history was about to born: the Baguette.

 

 

From the origins till today

The iconic bag made its debut in the 1997-98 Fall/Winter collection thanks to the genius of Silvia Venturini Fendi, then creative director of accessories and Karl Lagerfeld's right-hand woman, and now head of the accessories and menswear division. The family label, founded in 1925 by her grandparents Adele and Edoardo, still far from the orbit of the transalpine conglomerates, asked her to design an accessory that reflected not only the DNA of the maison but also the minimalist spirit of 90s haute couture. In an act of disobedience, as she herself defined it sometime later, she decided instead to create this flashy, playful and unique bag, because each version is different from the previous one. A challenge, but also an intuition, because the Baguette, which winks at the French cliché of the loaf of bread under the arm, is destined to appear on the most glamorous celebrities and fashionistas of the last 24 years.

 

The variants of the Baguette

Yes, because it is in fact the first bag model to be subject to seasonal changes, so that it can be combined with every look. The result is over a thousand different versions: in canvas with the iconic pumpkin motif, in laser-printed or painted or embroidered leather, in raffia and in sophisticated fabrics and techniques, padded, in patent leather and countless colours. The standard Baguette measures 26 x 14 centimetres, the handle between 43 and 31, it is longer than it is tall and perfect to be carried easily under the armpit for a day of shopping with friends as well as for more elegant evenings and nights. Over time it has evolved into different sizes, medium, small, nano and now the Pico version: a jewel/accessory suitable for carrying Airpods earphones.

Since its first appearance back in 1997, the Roman fashion house's hottest bag has exploded over the years thanks to its appearance in the HBO TV series Sex and the City, but also for its association with celebrities - like Gigi HadidRihannaParis Hilton and Lily Collins. Feminine, refined, the Baguette is the ultimate collector's bag, so popular that it has even appeared in bookshops. In 2012, 15 years after its birth, Rizzoli published a dedicated monograph, Fendi Baguette: a book/bible of the it-bag that became a cult item in the 2000s, edited by Silvia Venturini Fendi herself and with contributions from fashion icons like Naomi Campbell and intellectuals of the calibre of Banana Yoshimoto.

Today, 24 years after its debut, the Fendi Baguette, also known as solely the baguette, remains the starting point of fashion accessories, the essential for all those who like to change constantly and stylishly, while maintaining a timeless elegance; the evergreen that, despite boasting over 1000 different interpretations, remains forever and always beautiful and desirable.