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Carla Fendi, philanthropist and fashion force, dies at 79

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/20/2017

VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02: Carla Fendi attends the Opening Ceremony and Baaria Red Carpet at the Sala Grande during the 66th Venice Film Festival on September 2, 2009 in Venice, Italy. © Pascal Le Segretain VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02: Carla Fendi attends the Opening Ceremony and Baaria Red Carpet at the Sala Grande during the 66th Venice Film Festival on September 2, 2009 in Venice, Italy.  Carla Fendi, one of the five sisters who transformed the family leather goods business into a global luxury fashion house long known for its furs, has died following a long illness. She was 79

The Rome-based fashion house confirmed Fendi's death Monday, expressing pain for the loss and gratitude for her continued contributions.

The sisters opened the first Fendi store in Rome's historic center in 1964, and a year later hired a young designer named Karl Lagerfeld who helped catapult the Italian brand into global fame, with a focus on designing luxury furs.

Each sister had her role, and Carla Fendi, as Fendi president, was the family business' public face until they sold to the French luxury group LVMH in 1999. She was honorary president until her death.

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