Carla Fendi, philanthropist and fashion force, dies at 79

It was Carla and her sisters - Paola, Anna, Franca and Alda - who in 1965 brought in Karl Lagerfeld, then a young German designer, to create a women's ready-to-wear-line. "The Rome-based fashion house confirmed Fendi's death Monday, expressing pain for the loss and gratitude for her continued contributions", the Associated Press reported.

Together, the sisters and Lagerfeld transformed the once humble store into a powerhouse luxury brand known for its colorful designs, famed baguette shaped handbags, and fine furs.

Carla Fendi's family announced on Tuesday that founder of Fendi fashion house has died at the age of 79.

The Fendi fashion house eased up on fur as pressure from animal rights activists diminished the market. LVMH luxury group acquired a controlling stake of Fendi in a 1999 deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

While other members of the family were the creative forces, Carla concentrated on promoting the company brand, whose logo of two F's, one of them upside down and backwards, became an internationally recognized symbol for luxury.

Carla's niece, Silvia Venturini Fendi, daughter of Anna Fendi, has co-creatively directed the brand since 1994.

News of Carla's death broke after Fendi showed its latest menswear range at Milan Fashion Week: Men's. "The challenges that she always confronted, also as a pioneer in her field". Fendi's funeral will be Thursday at the Chiesa degli Artisti in Piazza del Popolo in Rome.

Fendi had a lifelong commitment to her native city's culture and heritage and the foundation she set up with her husband Candido funded the restoration of Rome's famous Trevi Fountain.

  • Leroy Wright