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"Fur is Fendi and Fendi is fur"

Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of this iconic fashion house, is credited with making fur less bourgeois and more functional

Asmita Aggarwal 

Karl Lagerfeld

He is known to be an ace photographer, a creative genius who manages to straddle three fashion houses. Uninhibited and unconventional, that's Karl Lagerfeld for you. Creative director of the fashion house Fendi, Lagerfeld is never shy to show his love for model Cara Delevingne or his affection for muse Baptiste Giabiconi or his attachment to his super-famous cat Choupette who even has a twitter account.

Despite being a German, Lagerfeld is completely in sync with what the Italians want. "Fendi is my Italian vision of fashion and I want Fendi to be very Italian, very Roman because I think it should be like this, I don't see another way," he exclaims. Known for his trademark snowy white hair and starched collars, Lagerfeld has never been too far from controversy. He called Grammy award winning singer Adele "a little too fat", criticised Michelle Obama's bangs; and waved away interviewers with his often-gloved hands. But there is no denying that there is no success story like Lagerfeld's.

He lent his magic touch to Fendi as well. Fendi is the only fashion house to have its own Fur Atelier since 1925 and each artisan trains for 10 years in the art of making fur, which is passed on from generation to generation. It was in 1965 that Karl Lagerfeld joined Fendi and with him fur became less about wealth and more about functionality. "Adele Fendi was a genius and with me she was beyond charming. I went to see her and proposed another collection called Fun Fur. Slowly, the very classic bourgeois fur coat disappeared and then it became the fur business in Italy, because they agreed to remove the lining, to do things with fur nobody had done with it before. Fur had to be treated like just another material," says Lagerfeld.

With the help of the Fendi family, Lagerfeld has created a new concept. Fur is no longer just about coats but also dresses, bags, jewellery and the adorable charms - Bag Bugs. As Fendi celebrates the 88th anniversary of its foundation and relationship with fur, Lagerfeld says, "For me it's easy to have ideas but less easy to find people who can realise them. But they (the Fendi family) took really every pain to find the right people to do what I thought they should do and in the end it made their name. Fur is Fendi and Fendi is Fur."

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First Published: Fri, February 14 2014. 21:36 IST