Carla Fendi, the erstwhile president of global fashion brand, Fendi, passed away on Monday (June 19) following an illness. She was 79. Carla — along with her four sisters — transformed her parents’ small leather goods’ workshop into a fashion giant.

The sisters hired famous designer Karl Lagerfeld in 1965, and he has since designed many collections for the sisters. The sisters moved the shop location to the famous Spanish Steps in 1965, and the brand’s bags, furs and scarves slowly started gaining more popularity.

Carla was the brand’s president and public face, till the sisters decided to sell a controlling stake to LVMH in 1999.

She remained honorary president till her death.

Carla married, but never had any children. But her sisters had 11 children between them, and the Italian government allowed their descendants to adopt their maternal surname.

She was a fan of 20th century European art and was an avid collector. Her mother used to take her and her four sisters to visit a well-known sculptor Mirko Basaldella every Sunday, which is when her love of art began.

“She was for all of us a source of inspiration and an example of dedication, culture of work and sensitivity to beauty,” said the company about its founder. The brand’s creative director is Carla’s niece, Silvia Venturini Fendi, daughter of her sister Anna.

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Picture Credit:  Alain Elkann Interviews