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Fashion and furniture collide as avant-garde design studio Bless collaborates with Fendi

a room with a wood floor and a door with a window
Behind the design of Bless’s collab with Fendiwww.ludger-paffrath.de

There are few international events in which the worlds of fashion, design and art converge as coherently and with as much fanfare as Design Miami/. This can largely be put down to the involvement of Italian luxury house Fendi, which became one of the first fashion brands to link itself to the design world when it launched a partnership with the fair in 2008.

Since then, it has worked with stellar names including Tom Dixon, Formafantasma, Dimore Studio, Cristina Celestino and Sabine Marcelis, among others, to explore what creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi calls the ‘contamination’ between design and fashion.

It’s an interdisciplinary collaboration that is stronger than ever, and in December last year, the latest iteration of this creative fusion was revealed at Design Miami/ to critical acclaim. ‘Fendibackfrontals’ is conceived by the hard-to-categorise creative studio Bless that’s run by Paris/Berlin-based designers Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag. The installation comprises four double-sided screens (created by Fendi Casa) featuring lifesized images of Fendi-related interiors on the front, while on the back there are exquisitely panelled alcoves incorporating seating, table and storage elements.

a wooden door with a white chair
www.ludger-paffrath.de

‘We were looking to bring the inside out and offer a more complete and human view of a fashion brand,’ says Heiss, ‘one that’s generally only used to showing its glossy side.’

Originally approached in April 2022 by Simon Parris, from Kim Jones Studio (Jones is the artistic director of Fendi’s womenswear and couture collections), the duo initially turned down the invitation. However, they were soon drawn into the Fendi world, and became intrigued by what they found there, interviewing employees across the organisation to get a real sense of how it worked. ‘We fell in love with the company, with all the women we met and this female power we could feel.’

a bag on a table
ROBIN HILL

As well as the screen structures, Bless came up with its own take on Fendi’s iconic ‘Peekaboo’ bag – adding hints of parcel and shipping labels to represent the process of sending work and ideas between the pair in Paris and Berlin and Fendi in Rome. Proof – like the installation itself – that great beauty, creativity and craftsmanship can exist without rigid definition. fendi.com