Luxury giant LVMH won’t begin looking for an outside designer to succeed the late Karl Lagerfeld at fur-maker Fendi, leaving an executive who’s a member of the brand’s founding family to fill the role for the time being, according to people familiar with the matter.
Silvia Venturini Fendi, a granddaughter of the brand’s founders and its creative director for accessories, menswear, and children, has progressively expanded her role and won confidence in recent years, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Lagerfeld, who was more broadly known for making the rival Chanel label into a fashion powerhouse, died Tuesday in Paris at the age of 85.
While Lagerfeld’s larger-than-life persona — including his signature white ponytail and dark glasses — has remained a key element of Fendi’s identity, Venturini Fendi has also become increasingly visible. She invented Fendi’s Baguette handbag in 1997 — the first of the “it” bags — and more recently won acclaim for relaunching the brand’s menswear collections under Pietro Beccari, who moved to LVMH’s Christian Dior division last year.
LVMH representatives declined to comment, saying it was too soon to discuss succession as the company mourns the end of a 50-year partnership with Lagerfeld.
“Fendi intends to take its time to pay him the homage he deserves and will communicate on his succession later,” the brand said.
Lagerfeld joined Fendi in 1965 and set to modernizing the bourgeois fur specialist with new couture techniques to make coats lighter, while at the same time adding intricate patterns. His iconic “FF” logo initially stood for “fun fur.” He continued to design womenswear collections for the house even after becoming the creative director of Chanel in 1983 and founding his own namesake brand.
While LVMH doesn’t break out sales for individual brands, analysts’ estimates of more than $1 billion euros of revenue at Fendi have roughly tripled since the group acquired the business in 2001.
Lagerfeld’s last collection will be presented as planned this Thursday during Milan Fashion Week, Fendi confirmed.