Highsnobiety
Fendi

BLESS is finally getting its moment in the sun.

The nearly 30-year-old fashion label-cum-art project has had a relatively huge 2023, thanks to surprise co-signs from hip admirers like Supreme and luxury giant Fendi which is particularly keen to keep the pedal to the metal, ensuring that BLESS is given its just desserts (acclaim and attention, that is).

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For Miami Design Week 2024, BLESS and Fendi collaborated on a series of goods that range from an trompe l'oeil installation to quirked-up product indicative of both partners' core tenets.

At the heart of it all, for instance, is a brilliant spin on Fendi's Peekaboo bag — so many remixed Fendi bags these days! — that transmogrifies the inimitable handbag into a shipping parcel. A Peekaboo Suitcase showcased at Fendi's Miami Design booth received similar treatment.

The unassuming appearance ties in with the 'Backfrontal' installation that BLESS created, which utilizes photographic trickery to make it look like viewers are stepping into a two-dimensional recreation of Fendi's historic Milanese headquarters.

"We're looking to bring the inside out," BLESS founders Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag said in a press release.

In doing so, they inverted concepts of value and worth through the artisanal craft necessary to create their bespoke Fendi goods — it demands painstaking handiwork to make BLESS' Fendi Peekaboo look as quotidian as it does.

The process of creating this piece and the other works brought BLESS and Fendi to an unexpected level of creative intimacy, wherein the two companies developed a deep love for the others' capabilities.

This appreciation manifested in tangible product, like the Peekboo bag and the exquisite update to BLESS' "Jeansified" series wherein Fendi's atelier staff upcycled leftover fur scraps to use as coverings for household objects. But that was only the beginning.

"Through working together with Fendi... and getting to know one another during this process, we identified a common interest and profound admiration for ‘savoir-faire’, paired with a humanness applied to everyday practice," BLESS' founders told Highsnobiety.

"The biggest surprise and gift for BLESS on this collaboration was that Fendi developed almost an instant trust on the approach. It was important to understand that the proposed project needed time to be developed and craftsmanship to be accomplished and FENDI generously made both available."

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Fendi demonstrated its love for BLESS by backing the Berlin-based collective's 25th anniversary celebration in 2022, wherein it invited over 200 previous collaborators, peers, staffers, interns, and friends to Berlin for a one-day picnic and trek that was captured in a commemorative tome as part of BLESS' latest creative endeavor.

I've written extensively about BLESS' impossible-to-generalize creative ethos but to put it simply, BLESS operates at an advanced level that typically relegates it to the realm of IYKYK fashion lovers and appreciators of eccentricities. It has real fashion cred, having worked with Martin Margiela in the '90s, but BLESS has always just been for the heads.

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Which is what makes Fendi's BLESS celebration so fascinating. It's proof of Fendi's good taste — the family-run fashion house loves a niche team-up — and proof that anyone can be successful in doing what they love. Sometimes, it just takes a while for everyone else to catch up.

For BLESS, it took 26 years, and I still don't think most folks have caught up. But the right people are finally paying deserved attention.

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