Upon entering Fendi’s new Maison in Paris – or ‘theatre’ as it is often referred to – one is confronted with a large metallic sculpture by British artist Tony Cragg. It has an imposing presence, is completely bespoke and spins, almost uncontrollably, out of the floor towards the ceiling, leaving a series of abstract reflections in its wake.
Cragg’s sculpture doesn’t simply act as decoration. Instead, it serves as a reminder of the power of the human touch – something that has become so closely associated with the house of Fendi. As you take a closer look around, you realise the presence of the hand-made is everywhere – from this season’s statement furs, constructed out of three to four layers of lining, rendered in geometric shapes and dyed in a series of pop colours – to designer Maria Pergay’s wooden and steel wall that sits in the store’s new made-to-order room (where the motto “anything is possible at Fendi” really does exist).
However it is Karl Lagerfeld’s latest project The Glory of Water: a black and white photographic series of Rome’s ancient fountains, which really embodies the very presence, power and history of the human touch. The beauty of past and the presence of antiquity have always fascinated Lagerfeld – so it seems only fitting that he worked with two rare photographic techniques: platinotypes and daguerreotypes – the latter being the first commercially successful photographic process.
Karl Lagerfeld: “Rome has a very unique atmosphere. In my life, I have already been to Rome over 740 times, I feel part of it… Rome is eternal, therefore, there is no better place: Rome has changed and not changed.”
The Glory of Water debuted in Paris earlier this month, in a temporary exhibition by the banks of Seine. The series also coincides with the Fendi for Fountains project, an initiative that launched earlier this year, which will fund the restoration of iconic Roman fountains including The Trevi, which was immortalised in popular culture through Federico Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita.
Here in an exclusive Dazed video, filmed during the opening of Fendi’s new store in Paris, Silvia Venturini Fendi and Pietro Beccari talk us through their new ‘theatre’ and The Glory of Water.