Fendi enlists star designers for charity bag auction

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 May, 2014, 9:42am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 May, 2014, 9:42am

The price of exclusivity is worth paying when it is for a good cause. Fendi has teamed up with a group of iconic British (and adopted British in the case of Jerry Hall and Gwyneth Paltrow) women to each customise one of Fendi's equally iconic Peekaboo bags.

Only three of each design will be made: one to be held in the Fendi archive, one to be given to the celebrity collaborator and one which will be auctioned online during May.

This gives everyone the opportunity to bid for a bag that only they and one other person will carry, and that other person could be Adele, Paltrow, Georgia-May Jagger and her mother Jerry Hall, Tracey Emin or Cara Delevingne. There are 10 collaborations in all.

The project is to mark the opening last Thursday of Fendi's London flagship store in New Bond Street. When Fendi opened in Paris last year it held an exhibition of Karl Lagerfeld's photographs of fountains and funded the restoration of Rome's Trevi Fountain.

For the Milan opening, the company staged an exhibition about Fendi in film at the cinema in the Via Manzoni. Its most recent collaboration was the furs in the film Grand Budapest Hotel.

For London, it is donating the proceeds from this auction to the Kids Company, the British charity founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh, which gives practical, emotional and educational support to 36,000 vulnerable inner-city children in London and Bristol.

There is something playful about the Fendi Peekaboo, which has been a runaway success since launching in 2009.

From the outside it is a demure classic, but the exterior pocket folds down to reveal a multicoloured lining. The most recent version has cute mini-monster bug eyes peering out of the bag like a gremlin, with the Fendi metal logo, or a red zip, as its mouth.

For her collectors' piece, singer Adele, who became a mother in 2012, played up the children's connection with the Kids Company by giving her design girlish eyelashes and an open zip for teeth. The sides are decorated with panels with studs that look like sweeties.

Tracey Emin created a painting that was embroidered on her Peekaboo, and Paltrow chose a chic white crocodile design edged in black.

Naomie Harris, who starred in Skyfall, created an image of Africa on a white Peekaboo with leather and beaded butterflies fluttering over it, and the words "Truth Love Freedom" revealed when the pocket is opened.

Neo-futuristic architect Zaha Hadid completely reinvented the bag, while Delevingne painted her own image of Superwoman.

"The Peekaboo bag project has been a delight," says Batmanghelidjh. "Fendi's motto 'Nothing is Impossible' is a value we share with the children we support every day. This project will help us raise vital funds to continue our work with exceptionally vulnerable children and young people to give them a brighter future."

She says, for most children, a mother's bag is a treasure trove, full of good and fun things. "For traumatised children who are being harmed, their mother's bag can be a source of horror and despair."

Batmanghelidjh says knowing that complete strangers care and want to help means a lot to the staff and children of Kids Company.