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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fendi Fashion Takes the Bolshoi

Acompany known for breaking traditions with its bold fashion statements, Fendi ushered in a new first this week by presenting its latest line of furs at Moscow's Bolshoi Theater.

"We are proud to present our high fashion in this house of high art known all over the world," said Carla Fendi, president of the Fendi fashion house, who together with board member Guido Formilli came to Moscow this week to present Fendi's new collection.

Indeed, while famous fashion designers have been known to dabble in the legendary theater's on-stage attire, this is the first time the Bolshoi has opened up its doors for a fashion show. This Tuesday an impeccably dressed public gathered in the theater's White Hall to preview Fendi's latest in fur.

"Those who cross the threshold of recognition will be remembered in history," said Fendi, whose fashion house is world-famous for its innovative and creative use of fur. Even when other established designers refused to experiment by mixing fur with other fabrics, Fendi challenged traditional concepts. Fur, the fashion house proclaimed with its trend-setting designs, is not just for coats.

"Fur is just as necessary to man as skin," Fendi said.

Founded in 1925 by Eduardo and Adele Fendi, the company is now run by their five daughters and has one hundred boutiques all over the world, including one in Moscow. Opening the Moscow boutique last year right after the collapse of the ruble was a risky step to take, but now - a year later - both Fendi the company's Russian partner, Leonid Friedland, president of the Moscow-based Mercury company, say they are satisfied with the profits the shop has earned to date.

"Even during a crisis rich people prefer to buy expensive clothes, such as Fendi's furs, because they last forever," Alla Weber, Mercury's commercial director, said.

This week's fashion show began even before the models took to the catwalk. Many of the guests arriving at the White Hall came bedecked in Fendi fashion. The company's "baguette" and "croissant" embroidered fur bags were a particularly popular accessory piece.

The opening of the show itself was an impressive event. Five models walked out onto the stage, each holding a Fendi handbag that spelled out the firm's name in capital letters. Then they unzipped the bags, transforming them into ... fur coats.

And this was just the beginning. Throughout the show fur continued to pop up in most unexpected forms: on skirts, caftans, short jackets - even bustiers. The crowd was also pleasantly surprised by Fendi's ability to combine fabrics and add splashes of glitter and metallic shades to the material's appearance. Nor has the autumn-winter 2000 season's collection neglected the classics. More traditional fur coats - from chinchilla to sable - were met by enthusiastic applause.

Designer Irina Krutikova, nicknamed "the queen of Russian fur," expressed her admiration at Fendi's ability to magically transform fur into fabric.

"To understand it I have to touch it, to take in my hands or even smell it," Krutikova joked. "Good for them that they are creating not only fur designs but other clothes, shoes, bags - the whole ensemble. I admire and even envy their manufacturing opportunities and art."

Pavel Kaplevich, Moscow's famous theatrical artist and decorator, said he enjoyed Fendi's witty treatment of furs, its unexpected transformations and unusual use of colors such as pink, blue and green.

The show opened not only the road for future fashion shows in the Bolshoi Theater, but also a week of Russian-Italian trade and industrial meetings. Thus Carla Fendi, in her light lilac atlas pants suit, was accompanied by Giancarlo Aragona, the Italian ambassador to Moscow and Foreign Trade Minister Piero Fassino.

Also in attendance was Russian Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko, who admired the "amazing design, fantastic colors and gorgeous fabrics which made this collection a work of art."