There’s nothing typical about Ilaria Venturini Fendi’s approach to design. The youngest of Anna Fendi’s daughters, Ilaria was born into the true fashion elite. She’s definitely following in the footsteps of the family, but with her own unique approach. Having started Carmina Campus, a sustainable creativity project, Ilaria Venturini has been creating high quality accessories, jewelry and furniture, upcycled from a range of unique materials, including Venetian blinds, clocks, and even MINI!
Having grown up around the Fendi family’s atelier, Ilaria’s design flair and expertise came naturally. But after working in-house on the Fendi brand’s shoe and accessory collections, Ilaria opted for “greener” pastures. After a stint running an organic farm, the ecologically sustainable creativity project Carmina Campus was born.
Carmina Campus (the Latin means “chant of the earth”) challenges us rethink our relationship to the world of fast-cut, high-turnover consumption. The Carmina Campus philosophy is to only employ reused or reclaimed materials to make fashion accessories, and they’re not afraid to experiment with their sourcing. As such, they’ve found inspiration in some pretty unusual places: defective merchandise, end-of lines and even industrial waste products make their way into Carmina Campus designs. Materials such as PVC flooring, bottle caps, truck tarpaulin and garden umbrellas are not unheard of either. One thing, however, is certain: once they resurface, phoenix-like from the Carmina Campus atelier, there’s nothing trashy about the results.
So, with such an open-minded approach to sourcing materials, cars weren’t too great a stretch of the imagination for the Carmina Campus designer. And when Franca Sozzani, the Chief Editor at Condé Nast Italia, introduced Ilaria to MINI, ideas really began to flow. Finding a muse in the new MINI Roadster, Ilaria began a creative dialogue with Anders Warming and Annette Baumeister of the MINI design team. Between meetings at both the MINI Design Studio in Munich and Ilaria’s atelier in Rome, both parties became acquainted with one another’s design philosophies. Through this collaboration, an innovative new project developed. Carmina Campus set to work, and soon the MINI Roadster handbag collection was born.
Annettte Baumeister, Ilaria Venturini Fendi and Anders Warming
Using color samples and material offcuts left over from prototype production stages of the new MINI Roadster, the 50 bag capsule collection by Carmina Campus, designed both for men and women, is truly unique, and each item — needless to say — is one of a kind. Personal touches include tiled mosaics of small metal plates from the color samples of the car body painting, sun visors hiding make up mirrors, and even car handles as bag detailing!
MINI is delighted to have a truly forward-thinking, sustainability-conscious designer on board, and by the looks of things the feeling’s mutual. “I’m very happy about this collaboration,” says Venturini Fendi. “It shows just how aware MINI is of the motor industry’s impact on the environment and that it is working towards change. For big brands like MINI in particular, up-cycling is an important issue. After all, this is where you will always get scrap material that is generally described as waste, but in fact can become part of a high-quality object.”
The collaboration was unveiled in its entirety at a launch event, accompanied by the new MINI Roadster itself, at Milan Fashion Week.
And if you fancy getting your hands on a limited edition bag, they will be available for purchase at 10 Corso Como in Milan, and online at 10corsocomo.com.
In the meantime, though, the MINI Roadster handbag’s been stealing the spotlight in Vogue Italia and L’uomo Vogue this month — check out exclusive snaps from the shoot in the gallery below.
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Want to get a closer look behind the scenes? Whet your appetite with this film about the making of the exclusive collection and get to see the collaboration in action. From the drawing pad to the final stitch, you'll get an inside scoop feel for how this meeting of minds played out for fashionable and imaginative results.