Other than the fact that she grew up in the studios of one of Italy’s most storied houses, Delfina Delettrez Fendi had no real background in design before deciding to launch her own jewelry label at just 19. And while placing the precious stone upside down in her first-ever piece might have been an accident, the unexpected soon became Delettrez Fendi’s signature move: her imaginative and alternately morbid, mystical, and surreal designs quickly earned the Rome-based designer’s namesake brand sleek stores in places like London and fans like Beyoncé, not to mention dispelling any notions that success was just stemming from the family name.
Ten years on, Delettrez Fendi is by no means still a newbie, but still definitely pulling out the surprises: her spring 2017 collection, which she showed earlier this month, includes pieces like a dangling pearl earring with an elegant in-ear component – the designer’s suggested bonus for tuning out any nagging husbands. She took a post-Paris Fashion Week break to talk inspirations and her own personal style, which it turns out she finds everywhere from ecclesiastical stores and 16th-century aristocratic serial killers to the family fur archives.
How you would describe your style: Schizophrenic – I can be pared down like a nun and Pop-colored like a parrot!
Favorite stores in Rome: Bianchetti, an ecclesiastical store where I get some gowns and dresses made to order; the antique library Cascianelli; Hollywood Film d’Autore video shop, for my movie research; Galleria O for design; and Profondo Rosso, the shop of [Italian horror director] Dario Argento, where there are replicas from scenes from his movies downstairs.
Favorite vintage stores: MAS and Vertigo in Rome, but Relic in London is always my favorite.
Daily uniform: Black or blue are my base colors. I like to be dressed in an uniform look when I work.
Nighttime look: I can become a tropical bird and wear intense colors, but I must say that my looks are very much influenced by the city. In Rome I like to be a little sacred and profane, so I wear my very chaste nun dresses and mix them with weird fishnet stockings or very high heels and beautiful brooches.
Style icons/inspirations: Marchesa Luisa Casati, Giò Ponti and his designs, [countess and serial killer Elizabeth] Báthory, [sculptor] Benvenuto Cellini, [anatomist] Andresa Vesaluis, [physician and astronomist Franz] Mesmer…
Best recent discovery: An insane bar in Tokyo [Kayabukiya Tavern] where the waiters are monkeys!
Style pet peeve: Prejudices.
Last purchase: An antique book on diamonds from Palazzo Sacchetti.
Lusting after: Alexandrite stone.
Something you always carry in your bag: Phone charger!
Travel essential: My quartz crystal to empower my drinking water.
Something you would never wear: Flip flops.
Most prized possessions in your closet: My Capucci collection, my Ossie Clark collection, and my Fendi archive collection – especially my monkey fur cape!
Favorite accessory you own: The malachite Policromia watch I designed for Fendi.
Favorite shoes you own: My embroidered boots from the Fendi haute couture show in Rome.
Something you loved this past season: Simone Rocha‘s white “ceremony” dresses.
Something you can’t wait to wear this winter: A Balenciaga structured coat.
Music you’re listening to right now: Goblin.
Book you’re reading right now: I am interested in witches now and reading about their rituals and sabbath.
Favorite Instagram to follow: My boyfriend, a diary of visual poetry.