Silvia Venturini Fendi Reflects on Designing the Peekaboo Bag, 10 Years Onwards
We caught up with the Fendi scion to discuss one of her most enduring designs in honour of the 10th anniversary of its creation.
The Fendi Baguette may be the ‘it bag’ with all the cultural cache — its own storyline on Sex and the City, plus famous fans like Paris and Nicky Hilton — but it is the Fendi Peekaboo that has truly stood the test of time. With its understated hardware and roomy shape, the Peekaboo commands none of the attention of the blingy Baguette — but perhaps that’s the point. While the Baguette bag seems to scream ‘party girl,’ the Peekaboo opts not to scream at all. There’s something to be said for a bag with the ability to retain a sense of mystery. We caught up with Silvia Venturini Fendi, the designer behind the bag, to discuss her view on the enduring design, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.
FASHION: What did you have in mind back in 2009 when you decided to create the Peekaboo bag?
Silvia Venturini Fendi: I wanted to do something that would reflect the concept of timeless, the concept of high quality. The bag had to be very classical in a way that only an expert leather goods maker could create. It was a bit of a reaction to the Baguette, that was 20 years ago, when everyone tried to do the it bag of the moment. This was really good forbusiness but also sometimes you saw some bags that were all over, too many, too often, not always so relevant. So I said, “Let’s do something that fuels the old rules, not these bags full of embellishment.” This is something that has to be minimal, something that will never be out of fashion in a way.And I think I really achieved that, because 10 years is not a long time it is for a bag. For a bag to be so relevant after 10 years means we can consider it iconic.
For a bag to be so relevant after 10 years means we can consider it iconic.
It’s interesting that you managed to create this hyper-trendy bag, the Baguette, then went on to design the Peekaboo, which has a completely different appeal. Do you think you have a signature as an accessories designer?
I think that I probably have a quality that is to put myself into the work, to ask myself questions. The Baguette was something beautiful, fantastic, but the reaction was to do something as beautiful and fantastic but totally different. Sometimes when you have a success, you try to follow the same things of the past. In my case, I’m always very open to changing my mind and do things and experiment. This is something that comes from Karl [Lagerfeld]. He is always so bored with what he has done already, he just concentrates on what he didn’t.
It’s like you’re searching for answers in the form of a bag.
Yes of course. Anyone who is a creative person responds with objects, because they need to get some answers, to feel some curiosity.
What is your greatest challenge is as an accessories designer?
I think it is to like what I do after so many times. When you see things…especially today with the internet, when you see old bags and you still like them, I think that time is a big judge. When you see things after many years and you still like them, it’s like an exam and you passed.
Conversely, what is your greatest joy?
When you are a creative person, normally you don’t have joys. You are more searching and questioning. It is always research that is a bit more painful than joyful. But the big joy is when you see people with [your accessories] on. When you see your idea has been received by other people, when you see a nice woman wearing your bag, this is a joy. Because it is not just your idea, you share it with other people.
When you are a creative person, normally you don’t have joys.
What do you want women to feel when they pick up the Peekaboo bag?
[That the] bag becomes a friend. It’s like a companion. You put inside all your best secrets. If you open a bag you can tell a lot about a person. It is something so personal. I think I want [women] to feel that is it I something beautiful but practical at the same time, that it makes their lives easier. Hopefully they feel empowered a bit.