Fendi launches ‘Fatto a Mano’ with Hawaii artists

August 15th, 2011
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Nadine Kam photos
Fendi’s Cammy Maheras and vice president for retail Marcos Comazzi welcomed artist Eli Baxter, center, to the Ala Moana Center boutique Aug. 12, during the Hawaii launch of “Fatto a Mano for the Future (Handmade for the Future).

Fendi launched its “Fatto a Mano for the Future (Handmade for the Future)” design focus in Hawaii Aug. 12, marking a great opportunity for Hawaii artists to collaborate with the luxury house.

After a months-long search, Fendi partnered with wood sculptor Aaron Padilla and rubber sculptor Eli Baxter in the program, which supports work of emerging contemporary artists in expressing the company’s values of craftsmanship and artistry.

Honolulu is the sixth city selected to participate in the initiative, with Miami next in line, according to Marcos Commazi, vice president for retail for Fendi, who was visiting for the event, along with a sizable New York contingent.

After working on their own in preparation for their respective exhibitions, the artists had the opportunity to work in-store alongside Fendi craftsman and Selleria ambassador Ester Di Sarno, who described their work as fantastic.

She said she worked for fashion designers for years before joining Fendi, training in Florence and Milan. In spite of all the previous experience she had, she said it still took her four months to sew a handbag to Fendi’s exacting specifications.

For both Hawaii artists, working with Fendi represented a crash course in learning to incorporate Selleria leather and luxurious fur into their work. For Baxter, that meant blending the leather with recycled rubber from old bicycle tires, creating beautiful floral and conical designs amassed into an installation that looks like a colony of living organisms.

Baxter was at the Ala Moana Fendi Friday and Saturday, while Padilla was at the Royal Hawaiian Center Sunday and you can catch him at work, manipulating wood segments to create his elegant woven and knotted sculptures from noon to 9 p.m. Aug. 14.

Eli Baxter’s leather, rubber and fur sculpture was the centerpiece of the Fendi Ala Moana exhibition.

A detail of Eli’s creation above, with another closeup below.

Some of the materials that Eli and Fendi Roman craftsman Ester di Sarno were working with on site.

Baxter’s work displayed with a Fendi flat.

Artist Aaron Padilla with Fendi special events + corporate communications coordinator Emily Huang, Aug.14 at the Royal Hawaiian Center.

Aaron’s large wood-and-leather sculptures on display at Fendi Royal Hawaiian Center.

Fendi Selleria ambassador Ester di Sarno punchedsmall stitching holes into Selleria leather during a demonstration Friday at Fendi’s Ala Moana store. Below, she showed the embossing process Sunday at Royal Hawaiian Center.

One of Aaron’s pieces displayed with Fendi Selleria handbags.

Dean Christopher brought Fendi and his former photography teacher Gaye Chan together in search of artists whose work and vision would be a good fit. Dozens submitted applications and proposals.

EuroCinema Hawai’i director of development Guido Carlo Pigliasco, left, with Marisa and Patrick Gey at the Friday night reception.

From left, Malie Moran with designer Katrina Bodnyk of HI State of Mind, and Amber Chesebro of Salty Girl Jewelry.

Eli with Jay Jensen.

Designer Matt Bruening with Farida Ong. I was admiring her dress, which turned out to be vintage Fendi. She worked for the company before moving back to Hawaii to design her own line of accessories and jewelry, Evening Invitation by Farida Ong.

Steph Langkamp and Woodii Carr were easily the tallest people in the room. Steph made model Marisa Gey feel like a shortie.

Some of the Selleria leather used by Ester Di Sarno at Fendi, Royal Hawaiian Center.

A detail of Aaron’s wood and leather work.

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