A Deep-Dive Into The Iconic FENDI Baguette's 'Hand In Hand' Collection Advertisement

A Deep-Dive Into The Iconic FENDI Baguette’s ‘Hand In Hand’ Collection

Rare weaving techniques, meticulous lacework, and embroidery dating back centuries redefine the timeless accessory

By Sonali Shah  October 19th, 2021

FENDI’s creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi has an ambitious initiative at hand. “My aim now is to explore every Italian region and select the best artisans still working today, and then expand the project worldwide,” she says. Her passion project is called ‘hand in hand’—a grassroots partnership with local artisans across Italy. Under it, exceptional ateliers from the regions of Tuscany, Venice, Puglia, Marche, Abruzzo, Sicily, Sorrento, Lombardy and others have worked closely with the luxury house. The result? Unique interpretations of the iconic FENDI Baguette infused with seasoned local craftsmanship.

The unprecedented collaboration truly acquaints you with Italy’s rich artisanal prowess—the inside pocket of each Baguette bears a stamp with the atelier’s name and location, and the gold ‘FENDI hand in hand’ logo. An
exclusive limited edition of 20 bags is offered from each region, making the whole experience of buying and owning these conversational pieces, rather coveted. Introducing the one developed in Tuscany, Silvia says, “The leather Baguette bag that was presented on the Fall/Winter ‘21 catwalk is made in Tuscany by a man who normally makes small leather goods, all by hand, in small quantities. He makes everything by himself. It’s made of vegetal leather; very natural and there is no stitching—it’s just bonded.”

FENDI

 

Of Sculpting And Weaving

In Tuscany, the third generation atelier Peroni has been working with the historical Florentine artistic technique named ‘cuoio artistico fiorentino’ since 1956. Here, a single piece of leather is cut and moulded—without lining or stitches—into a glossy, bevelled frame Baguette. The arduous handmade procedure justifies equating of a Peroni artisan to a leather sculptor.

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Work in progress at Pralormo Design in Italy’s Peidmonte region

In the hilltop village on the island of Sardinia towards the west of Italy, the Su Marmuri women’s co-operative have been weaving indigenous tapestries by hand since 1971. On manual looms, artisans weave threads of natural fibres to create a raised relief of intricate dots. This weaving technique lovingly named pibiones derives its colloquial name from ‘grapes’ in the local Sardinian dialect. The Su Marmuri weavers have created a classic black and white diagonal stripe motif for the body of the Baguette, together with an FF logo pattern weaved on the inside. A soft bag, it is left unlined to celebrate the double-sided beauty of the technique.

Master goldsmith Platimiro Fiorenza setting red coral on a Baguette

Lacework Inc.

The globally acclaimed laces from the town of Isernia in Molise have made their way into the project thanks to GC Corredi. Isernia lacework panels overlaid on the Baguette that’s crafted in white nappa leather is the lace parlour’s contribution. Equally enchanting, Dodino artists from the Puglia region are known for their delicate loop and knot lace technique handcrafted on wooden shuttles to create concentric, flowery designs. This traditional Apulian method, chiacchierino, is applied over a padded cotton and linen base resulting in the effect of lace-work floating in 3D floral clouds over the surface of the Baguette.

Decorating leather with split feather shafts at the third-generation atelier Federkielstickerei Thaler

A plant-based connection is formed with the project by the virtue of Fabbrica Tessile Bossio, in the coastal province of Cosenza in Calabria. Here, the art of weaving ‘ginestra’ broom fibres in an eco-friendly way is generational wealth. Natural plant-based tinctures are purposed as dyes on the iconic FF logo pattern. Hand-knotted long fringes made of broom threads serve as embellishments on sides of the bag.

Master luggage-maker Bertoni Valigeria working on the Baguette with three pull-out drawers

Lessons In History

The Renaissance period’s technique of interlacing wicker, leather and cord is passed through generations at Bottega Intreccio in the Marche region of central Italy. The atelier enhances the Baguette by weaving with scarcely available willow branches, interlaced around a metal frame by hand. This hand in hand partnership shines the light on woven willow motifs inspired by the baskets used in the past by local fishermen.

Hand-weaving at the Lou Dzeut women’s cooperative, Aosta valley

The city of Perugia and its opulent handwoven fabrics are the focus of the Umbrian ‘hand in hand’ collaboration. The highly decorative and historical patterns recreated since 1921 by the atelier Giuditta Brozzetti find favour here. Think historical textiles, in a bright royal blue against a neutral background. The colour signifies aristocracy of a bygone era, thanks to its rare access to indigo pigments. Simona Iannini, an artisan from the Abruzzo region, harnesses a meticulous technique of lace that exists since the 1400s. With the ‘tombolo aquilano’ lace work, continuous threads are interlaced—never cut, sewn or knotted—as the artisan creates the desired pattern. In fact, over 100 hours were dedicated to create just the body of the Baguette.

The Baguette being bejewelled with the Byzantine tradition of hand-cut mosaic tilework in Emilia Romagna province

The most artisanal, time intensive ‘hand in hand’ project is a gift from Venice; from the archives of the jacquard artisans Luigi Bevilacqua, drawn from five centuries of family experience in crafting opulent Venetian textiles. Each millimetre of the rich floral brocade motif is cut and woven by artisans who produce a rare few centimetres of fabric per day.

Filigree silverwork in progress at the Effe-Erre atelier, Liguria

The ‘hand in hand’ project similarly explores 12 other regions of Italy, offering a fitting showcase to their best local craftsmanship. Finally, in FENDI’s hometown Rome, it joins hands with master jeweller Massimo Maria Melis in a fascinating integration of FENDI’s leather craft and Melis’ use of the lost wax technique and rare marble inlay. The ultimate cherry on the cake comes in the form of two precious original bronze coins from the Imperial period affixed to the front of the Baguette.

An intricate technique of inlaid woodwork is underway at the Stinga Tarsia workshop, Sorrento

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