Fendi’s First Major Fragrance Collection Is the Start of a New Chapter

Beauty

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Like most things Fendi does, the brand’s approach to fragrance has family at its center. Silvia Venturini Fendi, a member of the family’s third generation and the artistic director of accessories, menswear, and children for the company, is gathered with her daughters Delfina Delettrez Fendi and Leonetta Luciano Fendi at I Casali del Pino, a bucolic family property just outside of Rome, when the final result of a long-in-the-works project—Fendi’s first major fragrance launch in years—is presented to her. She sniffs approvingly. The line includes seven perfumes, each conceived with a loved one in mind. Casa Grande, a leather scent with hints of cherry and incense, is an ode to Adele Fendi, who co-founded the company as a fur and leather goods store in 1925 with her husband, Edoardo; while La Baguette, which smells like bread with sugar and butter, was inspired by Delfina’s six-year-old twin sons. When the bottles are lined up together, they form a color gradient, each one relating to the ones beside it.

“It’s a good way of starting a new chapter,” Silvia says, before reconsidering a bit. “Not only a new chapter, I would say—a new century. This is the beginning of a celebration of our 100-year-old history.” Now they are adding a new dimension to the story. “There’s nothing that reminds you more of a person than a fragrance. I think that fragrance has a very, very big impact on the history of a person,” she adds. “We started, of course, thinking about my grandparents, and so it came quite naturally to dedicate one fragrance to my grandmother, Adele. Then we started thinking about the Fendi sisters, and so it was kind of natural for me to talk about my mother, [Anna], one of the mythical Fendi sisters. Then [Fendi artistic director of couture and womenswear] Kim [Jones], with his story. And one for myself, one dedicated to my children, and also one thinking about the future to come. We thought that it would be nice to dedicate one to the smallest [members] of the house.”

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Perché No, Silvia’s scent, blends pink peppercorn and sandalwood and was meant to evoke the feeling of home, namely I Casali del Pino, which has been a family retreat since 2004. “They said to me, ‘Let’s be inspired by your best moment.’ My best moments are definitely in this place. It’s where I meet for the weekend with my family, my sister. We are a very, very big family, so for the weekend, we reunite, all of us in here,” she says.

a brick building with trees in front of it

Oberto Gili

The 430-acre property, which is run by Silvia’s sister Ilaria, has an organic farm, a small hotel, a restaurant, and family quarters. “There’s so much to do. You think, ‘God, it’s boring in the countryside.’ No, it’s an incredible adventure every time,” Silvia says. “You wake up with the sun. I have memories of nights around the fire, talking, no television, picnics at the river. I think the best thing that you can give to your children when thinking about their future is a place like this.”

Leonetta and Delfina had their first driving lessons on a tractor here years ago, and now Delfina’s three children come for the weekends. Roman ruins can still be found on the land, and there’s a legend that there’s a spot where Charlemagne once stopped on the way to Rome for his coronation. “The minute I walk through those gates and through this tunnel of trees, I feel recharged. But this place has a double kind of soul to me. There is always an adventure, because the land is infinite and it’s full of discoveries. I can lie down on a hill and feel the relativeness of time and just enjoy peace. But at the same time, I can take my small car and be in the middle of a forest with wild animals while still being so close to Rome. I mean, it’s quite absurd and unique,” says Delfina, who joined Fendi in 2020 as artistic director for jewelry and also runs her own jewelry line, Delfina Delettrez. She remembers when the family first bought the property 20 years ago. “We were cooking with the fire. It was very primordial, because there was nothing. We would all sit in the church and just stay there, sitting on the ground and playing games,” she says.

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The process of creating the Sempre Mio fragrance involved Delfina taking a deep look at her family’s past to create something truly unique. “I waited 36 years to wear perfume, because I never felt connected to any existing scent!” Delfina says, sitting outside as family members, longtime Fendi staff members, and the occasional dog pass by. She thought about her family roots in Morocco and how they represented something both foreign and familiar, something that a mix of the sweetness of orange blossoms with the spicy scent of cedarwood could bring to life. Renowned perfumer Quentin Bisch, who created four of the scents in the line, worked closely with Delfina and traveled to Morocco several times.

a vase with yellow flowers on a counter

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“She had given me some clear images of the textures and colors she wanted to be interpreted in the perfume,” he says. “One was the color of very reddish earth, like ocher red. The landscapes, the mountains—you could see the texture of the earth. You could see the texture of the stones, of the barks of wood. You could imagine the Atlas Mountains. It was super important to be able to get the idea that she had in her mind, and to try to interpret it to be true to myself as well.” Creating a series of fragrances that feel intertwined without being duplicative or overpowering one another was a tricky balance. “You start with one that you develop more than the others; then you start other ones. But at the end, every perfume was adjusted in regard to one another,” he says.

Delfina feels her sister when she smells Ciao Amore. “Leonetta, it’s her. She smiles with all of her senses. She is like a breeze of beautiful fresh air,” Delfina says. The scent is meant to evoke Ponza, the Italian island where the family has a home, and where Leonetta says she “feels the most free and at ease.” The scent’s name is a phrase that falls out of her mouth frequently and with ease. “I’m very much a people person, for sure. Even if I meet someone once, but I like and click with the person, it’s going to be ‘Ciao, amore’ the next time,” Leonetta says. The fragrance combines orange blossoms with fig leaves and tonka beans, and it’s also a tie to her family. Leonetta recently returned to Rome after years spent living in the U.K. and Belgium, where she studied and worked for the European Parliament. Since September, she’s been working on Fendi’s sustainability efforts and has fallen back into the family fold. “I always wanted to leave. I was always thinking that I [was] like the black sheep of the family,” she jokes. “I wanted to go abroad and have different experiences, but actually it’s been beautiful to come back. I feel like it’s my comfort zone, but also it gives me the possibility to try new things and really do what I feel like on the inside.”

a window with a tree outside

Oberto Gili

Each of the Fendis seems to gain so much by being beside one another, and with the fragrances, there’s been a true joy in creating something new that was built upon so many of their shared memories. For Delfina, this was a long time coming. “It’s really entering into the Fendi world with all of your senses, finally.”


A version of this story appears in the June/July 2024 issue of ELLE.

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