Delfina Delettrez Fendi, the smokey-eyed beauty and fourth generation heir to the Fendi fashion house, has achieved much since she founded her eponymous jewellery line in 2007. The 28-year-old designer has been featured in, and on, over 30 magazines, had a solo exhibition at the Antonella Villanova gallery in Italy and is the youngest designer to be featured in the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Decoratifs’ permanent collection of fine jewellery.
Born in Rome, Delettrez values the traditional craftsmanship of her Italian heritage and continues to produce her pieces by hand in her Roman atelier. The designer’s fantastical style is executed through the use of endless fine jewels and intricate gold and silver settings. Her work has both the youth and creativity of a woman in her twenties as well as the classic style and taste that comes from a life rich with the history of past generations.
For Delettrez, Rome is a constant source of inspiration, “It’s like time travelling….like a surreal scene – you only need to turn your eye and you are in the ancient Roman era, in the Baroque, in the Middle Ages, nowadays…standing still.” Here we spoke with the designer about her fall into fashion and familial influence of the Fendi name.
How and when did you decide to break into jewellery design and what was your family’s influence in that decision?
I couldn’t find any pieces that truly spoke to me, that reflected my personality and my desires. When I was growing up I used to play with my family’s jewellery, but as soon as I wore most of it I immediately felt 10 years older. I couldn’t find jewellery that reflected my generation and I was very much attracted to stones. I always felt they had immense powers, primitive and otherworldly. Wearing them feels like drinking an empowering elixir of vitality. As I always say: I create what I want to wear.
What was the first piece of jewellery you owned?
My very first jewel was an aquamarine brooch that was given to me on the day I was born from my grandmother. It is a very strong tradition in our family to give a gift when someone is born. I always felt they have immense power. An aquatic stone for an aquatic name.
What is the first piece of jewellery you remember admiring and have you ever tried to recreate it?
I remember my grandmother’s Erté brooches which turned into earrings. From then on I have always been attracted by multi-functional pieces.
What is the most special piece of jewellery that you own?
A resin heart containing my daughter’s first lock of hair.
What makes a Delettrez piece a statement piece?
The freedom, the irony, the great quality, the comfort and the destabilising effect. It’s a revisitation of a classic. I call them ultra modern classics. There is a classic and nostalgic feel to the pieces and an unexpected and modern way of wearing them.
You have just opened your second shop, why did you choose London?
I love London and I think that having a boutique in London is like having it in all the world. It is a big risk and a big personal and brand growth opportunity. When I first entered the store, I felt like I was walking inside one of my jewels.
You recently created A Magazine curated by Delfina Delettrez – how did you take the theme of gold and make it original?
I chose gold as the main theme because it is a material so common in my work, but suddenly it is also full of mysteries. I discovered it arrived on the earth by the stars crashing. For the issue I wanted to explore gold from different angles, alchemical, scientific and ornamental.
One of your contributors to the issue was Karl Lagerfeld. Was this an obvious choice for you?
It was natural to involve Karl for me. The golden issue also meant being surrounded by my golden friends and family.
What smells, noises, and tastes are Rome for you?
The smells of metal, the noise of the noon and the taste of basil.
What’s a myth about Rome that you would like to dispel?
That Rome is a city full of traffic, there isn’t much traffic in Rome.