Conceptualised by Silvia Venturini Fendi [the granddaughter of founders Adele and Edoardo Fendi] in 1997, the Baguette was miles ahead of its time. Venturini Fendi was first the masthead at Fendissime; the now redundant, youthful, sporty off-shoot of the main label. This challenge was something the creative director had to overcome, with the design not being met with the intended reception by the rest of the brand, given that it wasn’t in line with the [then] subdued style.
As the name suggests, the design was loosely inspired by a French baguette and was designed to be casually worn under the arm as French women would carry their baguette baton home from a bakery. It was a move away from the larger and structured bags that Fendi was designing at the time, and at a time long before logomania, it took some years to pick up in popularity.
Enter Sex and the City’s Carrie, and the episode where she got robbed. It was the year 2000, and a blasé line from the hit TV show took the bag on an unprecedented journey. “It’s a bag-ette” Carrie exclaimed. It became more than a bag and instead a moment in pop culture which keeps the bag relevant over 20 years later. The show thrust many accessories into the limelight, like the Hermès Birkin and the Manolo Blank Hangisi, but none like the Fendi Baguette which also made a cameo in the 2022 reboot “And Just Like That”.
"It is not a bag. It is a baguette."CARRIE BRADSHAW
Then came the Y2K trend; a fashion movement highlighting trends around the year 2000. This also prompted the vintage handbag industry to new heights with people looking to luxury accessories from this era instead of buying new ones. This includes bags such as the Dior Saddle, Prada Re-Edition and Fendi Baguette. Fendi, not one to sit back on a trend, took the opportunity to bring back the original collection in all its glory, with the #BaguetteFriendsForever global campaign. “Because the Baguette is like a best friend that never leaves your side, it changes as the times change, taking on new identities and expressions" said Venturini Fendi.
No one would have predicted the comeback the bag would make in the coming years, with the return of the Fendi 1997 collection in 2021; a mix of the new and old worlds, with archived re-editions like the sequin bags and the addition of a crossbody strap. A more drastic change to the original design is the introduction of new sizes. There was originally only intended to be one size of the Baguette to be worn on the shoulder as the initial concept entailed. But with changing preferences and a call for more versatility in designer bags, Fendi released a range of sizes.
This was followed one year later by the announcement of a special New York Fashion Week show to celebrate 25 years of the baguette. This show was a fashion first, with familiar designers and brands showcasing their spin on the famous bag. A future collaboration is set to be with Tiffany & Co, with bags in the classic Tiffany Blue and on-brand sterling silver. The cherry on top was Sarah Jessica Parker sitting front and center for the show.
In recent collections, new variations like the Multi Pocket Baguette are a fun take on the classic for the new generation of trendy fashion lovers. Marc Jacobs presented at the 2022 show a lettered baguette, paying homage to his own label's Tote Bag which has seen success in recent years, foreshadowing a future collaboration between the brands - a design tactic Fendi became accustomed to with the Fendace collection.
To date, there are endless iterations of the bag, from fully embellished and embroidered, to exotic leathers and furs, to collaboration pieces like the Fendace Versace collaboration. It is a piece that can mold to any era and collection; something Fendi has mastered, even if it wasn’t obvious at first.