It comes as no surprise that someone from a long line of women with an eye for the arts and style would make a mark of her own. Delfina Delettrez, a fourth generation Fendi, is already a celebrated jewelry maker, even when dropping the prestigious family name from the brand. The influence certainly shows in her work; rather than toy around with metals and stones and mold them into conventional pieces, Delettrez likes a bit of whimsy and humor on display, making them wearable for ladies her age but can be enjoyed by anybody nevertheless. Her work with precious metals and stones mimic the human body as well as the flora and fauna, putting a touch of luxury in the unusual and the ordinary.
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Born into Italian fashion royalty
Delettrez was born in Rome and into the Fendi family. Her mother was Silvia Venturini Fendi, responsible for bringing to the world the baguette bag and currently the Creative Director for accessories at Fendi, and her grandmother was Anna Fendi, one out of the five sisters that brought international recognition to the Fendi name. Her father was also in touch with his creative side, being a jeweler. This upbringing certainly influenced Delettrez in a big way: besides an eye for style, she is also proud of her Italian heritage, continuing to showcase these in her finished products. Her mother wasn’t surprised in the slightest, as she observed that Delfina had a unique fashion sense than her peers even when she was a child.
Delettrez had a peek into the French fashion sense through an internship with Chanel, during which she decided that the same path as her mother and grandmother would also be ideal for her. She couldn’t take her mind off of creating something that was her very own and so in 2007, started her eponymous line.
“I create what I want to wear.”
As a young kid, Delettrez loved playing with family jewelry and accessories; she was interested in the stones and felt empowered when wearing them, as well as the design and the processing of materials. But after the initial spark has gone, she found herself becoming dissatisfied as these did not appeal to her personally, and neither do the pieces that are available in the market. This became a motivation for her as she started her own line: to create pieces that she would actually want to wear, and were suitable for women who are more or less of the same age.
Delettrez’ work was heavily influenced by surrealism; she looked up to Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, Man Ray and Elsa Schiaparelli, thus her pieces that are created after images of the human body and its parts, as well as insects but are still dream-like compared to their real-life models. Her hometown Rome is also a source of inspiration as the city is full of history and art, even just in its stones.
In choosing the materials for her jewelry, Delettrez does not limit her choices to already flawless gems. To her, there is something interesting to be found in all materials, even in the most unconventional. These in turn can be pieced together with common metals such as silver and gold and gems that complement and amplify each other’s beauty. But while she is fashion-forward in her choice of materials, Delettrez still depends on classical Italian techniques in jewelry making, insisting that everything be done by hand, a practice that has its roots centuries ago. And she does not rely on delivering instructions electronically. Instead, she builds relationships with artisans so that she could articulate how exactly she wants a Delettrez piece to be done and so that the master craftsman can also communicate any concerns. Because of these, her work can be viewed as the perfect combination of the modern and the old.
The eye, the lips, and the bee
Delettrez’ selection is varied, but three motifs often emerge: the eye, the lips and the bee.
Delettrez’ eye is different from that of the Fendi monster eyes. Instead of looking evil, hers is of a lover’s. It actually has its origins in a Victoria tradition in which a man keeps an eye when he has to leave. It can be interpreted as either being watchful or giving protection, both with a romantic context. The lips is another classic for the designer, although it was not as intentional as the eye; Delettrez only wanted to experiment with body parts, especially those that are not usually adorned with accessories. As for the bees, the designer identifies with their industry and their products that make people happy because of their sweetness. It was also always around Delettrez as a youngster as it surrounded her childhood home.
A celebrated talent
At a relatively young age, the Italian designer is already recognized for her talents ever since she launched her label in 2007. She’s opened boutiques, most notably on Rome’s Via del Governo Vecchio, and presented on exhibitions in Europe as well as North America, and became the youngest to ever have one at the Louvre. Delettrez and her pieces have been written about in various international fashion magazines as well as seen collaborations with significant maisons such as Kenzo. Delfina Delettrez jewelry can be found in the most luxurious boutiques that include Dover Street Market and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as online retailers Moda Operandi, Net-A-Porter and Stylebop.