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Family Values: The Fendis
Today there are as many meanings of the word “family” as there are families. Welcome to the new normal.
“When you’re born into a family that has a family business, family and business are one thing,” says Silvia Venturini Fendi (center, standing), the sole Fendi still working in the Roman house founded by her maternal grandparents in 1925. As a young girl, Silvia grew up in the atelier, apprenticing to her mother, Anna (third from left), the firm’s designer, who preferred to dress her children in black. “Everybody would ask if we were orphans, and my nanny would say, ‘Her mother is in fashion!’” Silvia recalls. As coproducer of Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love, 2010’s art-house hit about a wealthy Italian textile clan, Silvia drew on her memories of the formal Fendi household. “In this kind of family, the important decisions were made at home around the table,” she says, “not at the office.” Silvia, a single parent, has since dispensed with such conventions. “I have two different fathers for my children [from left: Guilio Cesare, 26; Leonetta, 14; and Delfina, 23, with her daughter, Emma, three], so when we have family dinners, there are always the new wife, the new girlfriends. It’s a much more open family today.”