Culture

A peak into jewellery designer Delfina Delettrez Fendi's Paris apartment

The 31-year-old has a flair for mixing antiquities with mid-century modern Italian furniture

Walking into jewellery designer Delfina Delettrez Fendi’s one-bedroom apartment in Paris is like stepping into another time and place—a scene from Mad Men, if film director and aesthete Luca Guadagnino were charged with an Italian remake. Nothing you see here is contemporary: the 31-year-old has an enviable flair for mixing antiquities such as Venetian lamps, Roman columns (which she’s mounted on walls) and ancient tiles from Naples with mid-century modern Italian furniture. “Even the toilet is from the sixties,” she laughs.

For 10 years now, this Paris apartment has been a second home for Delettrez, who currently lives in Rome with her partner, the musician Nico Vascellari, their twin sons, and her 11-year-old daughter Emma. She first discovered this spot after visiting her great-aunt Carla Fendi’s apartment just next door, and became determined to find something of her own here. “I felt a connection with this square because it’s so unexpected,” she says of the location, just off the bustling boulevards of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

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The eldest daughter of Silvia Venturini Fendi, the creative director of accessories and menswear at Fendi, Delettrez is half French and half Italian. She grew up between Italy and Brazil, in rambling homes brimming with beautiful objects. Two such items, twin mirrors by [the Italian architect and designer] Gio Ponti, have found their place on the wall of her living room. “Those really remind me of my childhood. They were my grandmother’s first, and then they hung in the entrance of my mother’s home in Rome,” she says. ‘When my mother first came here, she said, ‘I think what you’re missing is something I have in my house.’” Other items Delettrez has inherited include her grandmother’s set of gold-trimmed Limoges china, which sits in the dining room next to monogrammed cutlery.

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Although Delettrez’s decorative taste might sound decadent, she brings an air of lightness to the apartment. It was originally upholstered with fusty carpets and the like, but she has stripped it all back. There’s a lot of negative space, save for a few well-placed precious items, including a large jewel-like crystal chandelier in the dining room. You see more of her in the surfaces scattered with curiosities, like the items she has accumulated over the years from local flea markets and antique stores. Endearingly, with a knowing smirk, she calls the collection of creatures, mostly insects cast from metal, and vintage shell vases and ashtrays, her “metal zoo”. “Sometimes they are sweet-looking,” she says, “sometimes they are more...repellent.” It’s on these objects that she likes to display pieces from her eponymous line of jewelry, which she debuted more than a decade ago. It has since become known for its precious mix of punk and playfulness. She shows me a recent collection of gold earrings and pendants that each feature a diamond, or pearl-adorned circular forms through which you can blow bubbles. “They actually work as bubble blowers,” she says, explaining that the idea came to her while she was pregnant last year.

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The birth of her twins has also influenced the way she dresses, and of late she’s embraced a more practical style. “I’m wearing less and less jewelry,” she admits. “And I don’t wear bags; I have this,” she says, gesturing to Fendi’s S/S 2019 utility belt, which she wears over a printed skort from the Fendi menswear collection, styled with a wide-collar shirt. Heels, she admits, are no longer on high rotation.

Still, Delettrez always looks polished, and is rarely seen without her signature kohl-rimmed eyes. It’s impossible to imagine her whipping off her bra after a long day and hunkering down to watch Netflix. In the living room, there is a generous amount of floor space, very few soft furnishings and almost no signs of everyday clutter—no half- drunk cups of tea or piles of unanswered letters. “I realized recently that my homes are not made for you to feel comfortable; I don’t have the kind of sofas you melt into,” she says, adding that she often sits on the floor. “The thing of staying in, lying on a couch watching TV and [playing] video games is not what made me who I am,” she says.

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STYLE FILE: Delettrez’s personal look is always polished, with her signature kohl-rimmed eyes; Her jewelry has become known for its precious mix of punk and playfulness.

When she does feel the need to kick back, she retreats to the bedroom: a light-dappled space that is sparsely furnished, save for her sheepskin-clad bed and a mid-century leather lampshade designed by Parisi that hangs overhead. I reach out to touch it and ask what skin it is. “It’s human,” she jokes with a laugh as I quickly withdraw my hand. “I like to lie on my bed with the windows open and watch it sway in the breeze—it’s like my mobile,” she says. Her surroundings are a constant source of inspiration. In this vein, she loves to gaze out of the window to the buzzing Paris streets below: “Looking out is like being in the front row at the theatre because you see so much: people fighting, playing the guitar, falling in love.”

 

Photographs: THOMAS CHENE; HAIR AND MAKE-UP: HISANO KOMINE/AIRPORT AGENCY.