Fendi is boosting its presence in the U.S., opening a new store in New York’s Soho district and its first units in San Francisco and Dallas.
“There is such growth potential in the U.S. for the brand,” said chairman and chief executive officer Pietro Beccari. “Fendi has matured, and it needs to be expressed on bigger surfaces. There is a more expansive and complete assortment that now also includes a wider selection of menswear, and these new venues allow us to present our product offer in a pleasant environment.”
The company, explained the executive, is venturing into new cities but also working on making the existing locations “more beautiful and welcoming,” at times relocating. He cited as an example the move from Fifth Avenue to Madison Avenue at the end of 2014. The new unit in Soho follows a temporary store that opened in 2014.
While declining to provide financial details, the U.S. market is among the top five regions for Fendi, said Beccari. There are 32 stores in the market. “We are strengthening business here beyond the short term,” he observed. Fendi’s online store targeting the region was launched in 2015 and is also contributing to the growth.
In a nod to the late honorary president Carla Fendi, who died in June, Beccari said one of the first venues she masterminded was a shop-in-shop at Bergdorf Goodman and that she championed the expansion of the company in the U.S.
The new, 5,250-square-foot boutique in San Francisco is located on Post Street with an all-window façade and special suspended displays providing clients with a full view of the store and Fendi collections from the outside.
Used throughout the two floors of the store, handmade 3-D plasters and Italian stones of Navona Travertine and Portoro Marble contrast with textured design elements including sections of wall in gold stucco.
A mix of vintage and bespoke pieces create an intimate mood. These include a sofa by Jasper Morrison supplied by Cappellini, 1920s vintage armchairs and the Twist Console table by Thierry Lemaire. There are also pieces designed by Cristina Celestino from “The Happy Room” created in December for Design Miami.
A dedicated men’s area is located on the lower ground floor, with brown lacquered finishes, dark gray metal mesh, dark brown parquet and a carpet in different tones of blue.
A special area is dedicated to Fendi books, with special pieces such as a console table designed by the brand with a Calacatta Violet marble top or a Fendi Casa ottoman pouf. The store is peppered with sketches by Karl Lagerfeld.
In Dallas, the store opened in the upscale shopping Highland Park Village, featuring designated areas for each product category. “This unit is in line with the architecture of the square,” noted Beccari. Customers access the store through two decorated archways that lead to the women’s ready-to-wear and accessories collections. There is also a large men’s selection, a dedicated fur area and a VIP room. Aligned with Fendi’s taste for special design pieces, an Elliot Eakin table, Brabbu tables and Canova side tables as well as chairs and a sofa designed by Jasper Morrison and supplied by Cappellini stand in the store. All-wood floors and carpets were imported from Italy, and a custom marble tabletop decorates the woman’s RTW area.
Fendi had a wholesale presence in both Dallas and San Francisco, but these are the first freestanding stores for the brand in those cities.
Beccari said the 5,700-square-foot Soho store is in sync with the district’s spirit, with a Nick Cave art piece standing out in the location.
Concrete industrial finishes and reclaimed brick salvaged from city buildings add a raw element to the store’s design, which contrast with sections of wall in gold stucco. On the ground floor, handbags are displayed on the Spike Wall, and women’s apparel, accessories and furs are on display against a textured background. Two skylights have been placed at the back of the store to create volume and height between the two floors. On the staircase is a special bespoke fur table designed by the Fendi Fur Atelier. A Cipria sofa designed by the Campana Brothers for Edra, two original vintage armchairs in the Marco Zanuso style and Celestino’s low tables are among the main furniture pieces. The men’s area is on the lower ground floor, with a low table by De Castelli and two Barcellona armchairs by Mies Van Der Rohe. Lagerfeld sketches also adorn this store.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief Bernard Arnault has increasingly been touting Fendi’s success, and the company has become a popular training ground for executives to fine-tune their expertise in luxury and highly skilled craftsmanship. Asked about Nicola Brandolese’s exit from Luxottica and rumored arrival at LVMH, Beccari confirmed Brandolese was following his moves at Fendi. “He does not have an official role, I am happy to have him here and proud Fendi is considered this way,” said Beccari.
In the past, Michael Burke, Philippe Fortunato, Alexandre Arnault and Kanye West spent some time at Fendi learning the ropes. Speculation is mounting about Brandolese’s future within LVMH. Current vacancies include the CEO slot at Kenzo, as its current one, Eric Marechalle, is to take up the management helm of Marc Jacobs International this year.