New book sees Italian craftspeople reimagine the era-defining Fendi Baguette

Celebrating 25 years of the Fendi Baguette, a new book from the house documents its ‘Hand in Hand’ scheme, which saw 30 artisans reinterpret the iconic noughties handbag through craft. Here, Wallpaper* shares an exclusive first look

Fendi Baguette handbag balances on rock
An image from Fendi’s ‘Hand in Hand’ featuring a version of the Fendi Baguette by Rosalba Niccoli from Liguria
(Image credit: Photography Lorenzo Vitturi, courtesy of Fendi)

This past September at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom, guests gathered to celebrate perhaps the Italian house’s most well-known export, the Fendi Baguette handbag, on the occasion of its 25th birthday. First created in 1997 by Silvia Venturini Fendi – and named for the way its compact form is designed to be carried under the arm, as one might a French baguette loaf – the noughties staple has since been reinterpreted over 1,000 times by the house, gaining particular notoriety as the favoured handbag of Carrie Bradshaw in HBO’s Sex and the City. Sarah Jessica Parker, who played Bradshaw, united with designer Marc Jacobs, jeweller Tiffany & Co, Japanese luggage brand Porter and Fendi’s current artistic director of womenswear and couture Kim Jones on a special Baguette collection shown as part of the New York celebrations, playfully reimagining the era-defining handbag 25 years on.

Continuing the year-long celebration, Fendi has announced today the publication of a new book,  ‘Hand in Hand’ (out November 3, 2022). It takes its title from the 2020 initiative of the same name, which saw the house task an array of Italian artisans from regions across the country to create a version of the Fendi Baguette which encapsulated their own, often centuries-old, craft expertise. Inaugurated by Venturini Fendi herself, the new book documents the process behind the project, paying ode to what the house calls the ‘Italian masters’, ‘custodians of ancient knowledge, skills and visionary qualities imprinted on hand-worked materials’. Comprising 30 different artisans across 20 different Italian regions, the resulting pieces offer distinct riffs on the iconic style – from unexpected versions in gold chiselled marble, vegetable leather and wood to more familiar brocade, embroidery and crochet. 

Hand in Hand: reimagining the Fendi Baguette

Fendi Baguette handbag balances on pile of marble and glass

An image from Fendi’s ‘Hand in Hand’ featuring a version of the Fendi Baguette by Gioielleria Massimo Maria Melis from Lazio

(Image credit: Photography by Lorenzo Vitturi, courtesy of Fendi)

‘It pleases me to work on certain techniques that, to me, seem unchanged – and then to observe how, when working by hand, an error can become a virtue. Indeed, an error can become the idea for innovation,’ explains Venturini Fendi in an interview about the project in the book. ‘[It] is a couture initiative, because it presents Baguette bags that will not be replicated; they will be a limited series of unique pieces.’

She continues: ‘Hand in Hand is an initiative that aims to sustain local traditions, the work of craftsmen, and the transmission of skills to new generations. Above all, sustainability is about human commitment, transparency and civil respect.’ 

The book itself features imagery by Italian photographer and artist Lorenzo Vitturi, who has created a series of images that ‘centre on the intersection of photography and sculpture’, while various ‘text curators’ are also involved, including art critic and curator Eugenio Viola, artist Aldo Bakker and ‘upcyclist’ Orsola de Castro. Each discusses elements of craft central to both the project and the Fendi Baguette itself – ‘details that are the result of hours of work imbued with symbolism, stories, [the] dedication of those who hand down historical artisanal skills and the charm of imperfection,’ say the house. ‘The humanity that the Fendi Baguette contains.’

Front cover of book which reads Fendi Hand in Hand

(Image credit: Courtesy of Fendi)

‘Hand in Hand’ is released on November 3, 2022 to coincide with the launch of the Baguette 25th Anniversary Collection.

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.