Fendi heiress who helped launch global fashion empire passes away aged 87

Italian fashion house heiress, Franca Fendi, died aged 87 on October 5 in Rome. Fendi along with her four sisters transformed their parents’ small family-run leather and fur business to a globally coveted fashion house, Fendi.

A lucrative deal signed between the sisters and German designer Karl Lagerfield in 1965 became the longest-running collaboration between a designer and a fashion house in the industry’s history, lasting 54 years.

Though Lagerfield’s work at Chanel became better-known, he formed a strong bond with the sisters during their lengthy collaboration, describing them as “the five fingers of a hand: inseparable, interconnected and always operating in unison”.

Franca worked as purchasing manager for Fendi, and latterly in Fendi’s boutiques in Rome until the company was sold in 1991. The fashion house was acquired by French LVMH in 2001, but one member of the Fendi family still works at the luxury brand.

Figures in the fashion industry paid tribute to Franca Fendi, and her achievements in propelling the family business to become one of the most iconic fashion houses in the world. Franca Fendi is survived by her four children.

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