Fourth generation in a lineage of Italian fashion royalty, twenty year-old Delfina Delettrez Fendi’s knack for design was seemingly predestined. With mother, Silvia Fendi, imparting invaluable fashion knowledge, and her father, the celebrated French jeweller Bernard Delletrez, schooling her in the art of jewellery design, Delfina has lately put her privileged, and lifelong, design education to use. Indigo Clarke writes.
Contributing to her family’s legacy and following in her father’s footsteps, Delfina Delettrez Fendi late last year launched her own jewellery label, “Delfina Delettrez”, at Colette in Paris, followed soon after by the opening of her chic “miniscule” boutique, modelled on an antiquated pharmacy, near Piazza Navona in the historic centre of Rome. The whirlwind year also saw the burgeoning jeweller give birth to her first child, “In just one year everything has happened to me,” Delfina says excitedly, chatting over the phone from her little Roman boutique. “I have my shop, my jewellery label and my baby daughter. My pregnancy really gave me the strength and inspiration to start my career.”
Interested in fashion and accessories since childhood but unsure of a real passion for design, Delfina wanted to, she says, “find out whether I was in some way conditioned by my background or whether I really wanted to go down the design path career-wise. So, after finishing my degree I flew to Paris to intern at Chanel.”
After a brief stint at the legendary fashion house, under the tutelage of family friend Karl Lagerfeld during haute couture season, Delettrez Fendi realised her love of design. The experience also saw her adopt the crescent moon and star insignia, a design representative of the Fendi sisters and designed by Lagerfeld for her father in the 80s, as the logo for her jewellery label. “It was love at first sight,” says Delettrez Fendi of her lifelong experience with jewellery. “As a child I visited my father’s atelier’s in Rome and Rio De Janeiro, and was captivated by the beauty of stones – emeralds, diamonds and sapphires. Although I love fashion, and to the surprise of my mother, it is jewellery that I am really passionate about creating.”
Wavering between “good and evil, death and life,” Delfina’s inaugural collection of glittering skulls and talisman’s take direction from “Haitian voodoo”. The dazzling assortment of candy-like bejewelled snakes, insects, frogs, crucifixes and skulls are symbols representative of her life, as well as being, Delfina says, the “essential ingredients used in alchemy and magic potions made by witches who, centuries before I moved here, worked in the neighbourhood around Piazza Navona. These Roman streets,” continues Delfina, “are miraculously still lined with many precious craftsmen’s shops. These artisans are an endangered species, I have great respect for them and am proud and honoured to be part of their world.”
From best friend Asia Argento (who directed a short film, or “dreamlike voyage” starring Delfina, screened during the jewellery launch at Colette) through to her sisters and Grandmother, Delfina’s edgy jewels are being snapped up by women of all generations. “My jewellery is precious, but not classic,” she explains. “I like that the pieces are fun and look like toys from a distance, but are made with gold, sapphires, diamonds and pearls. They are for all women of all ages – my grandmother, mother, sister and friends all wear my skulls every day for all occasions.”
The vibrant jewels inspired by Caribbean and Roman necromancy combine unconventional natural materials including bone, marble and exotic wood with traditional precious materials, and are hand-crafted in her father’s Roman atelier. Describing her jewellery as “bright and pop but with a dark, mysterious edge,” Delfina says she “exorcised childhood fears” through this collection. “I wanted to bring across the idea of voodoo and magic, to mix dark elements with colour and fun. I was interested in combining the things I love like animals, with the things I fear such as insects and death; to place all these symbols of my life and generation in a new context.”
Delfina Delettrez boutique, 67 Via del Governo Vecchio, Rome, Italy.
Delfina Delettrez jewellery available at Maxfield in Los Angelos, Podium in Moscow and Colette in Paris.