Fendi’s “Peekaboo” bag has been a symbol of design liberation since 2009, when the brand’s artistic director of menswear and accessories, Silvia Venturini Fendi, debuted the piece at the brand’s Spring/Summer show. At the time, the Peekaboo represented a departure from the decade’s craze for “it-bags” — as, while it was immediately recognisable by its accordion frame, boxy shape, and twist-lock hardware, it had been designed to balance elegance with functionality. Practical and eye-catching, it signalled a new approach to high-fashion accessories in an era that was begging for style evolution.
“There was an invasion of bags on the catwalk everywhere at the time, so I really wanted to create a bag that only a real leather goods maker, like Fendi, could possibly make,” explains Venturini Fendi. “It was the moment to set things straight with a new classic.”
And the Peekaboo did just that. In the pantheon of handbags emerging during the late ‘00s, Fendi’s new signature became a sensation. By 2014, the bag had found its way into the menswear market, where it also wasted no time becoming a staple. At first, the men’s design featured a larger, more masculine outline with the signature Peekaboo silver lock hidden inside the bag for a cleaner appearance. In recent years, however, the line that separates traditional menswear and womenswear has become increasingly blurred. Unisex labels have found their footing in “high fashion,” and silhouettes have become less dictated by the bodies that wear them. This year, Fendi has furthered this style evolution by releasing a reimagined Peekaboo bag for its Men’s Fall/Winter 2023-24 accessories collection.
True to the Italian craftsmanship that runs through Fendi’s DNA, the latest iteration of the Peekaboo sees the bag fitted with bold metallic hardware, sprayed shearling, and harness detailing. And while some of its features are shared with the 2009 original, the updated design boasts several new distinct elements that reframe it for the modern day. For example, it’s a more compact size and has an adjustable, detachable crossbody fabric strap; two practical compartments; and an inner cardholder.
If the first Peekaboo was meant to disrupt our preconceptions of “it-bag” design, then this 2023 edition seeks to redefine our notions of practicality. Fendi is increasingly moving away from defining or dividing its offerings by gender, and this latest all-round accessory stands testament to this dynamic mission: to appeal to customers of different ages, genders, backgrounds, personalities, and stylistic inclinations.
“The Peekaboo wearer is a multifaceted person,” says Venturini Fendi. “They have hidden talents; they choose what they reveal about themselves and when.”
The bag’s diverse appeal can also be seen reflected in the celebrities and style icons who have adopted it over the years. From longtime supporters of the brand, such as Rihanna and Angelina Jolie, to Fendi family newcomers like French football champion Karim Benzema and professional skater Evan Mock, the Peekaboo’s influence knows no bounds.
Rather, it is a conduit for innovation and interpretation in all its shapes and sizes. Evolving to meet the myriad, ever-changing needs of the fashion world, the bag has been upgraded where it needed to be, but — like any iconic piece — many of its enduring elements have been left untouched. Unrivalled craftsmanship, sleek minimalism, the contrast of precious textures and colours, and the tradition of fine leather goods remain at the heart of this latest Peekaboo.
“I think that carrying a Peekaboo says something about a very strong, powerful, and empowered person,” says Venturini Fendi. “Someone who is not afraid to hide.”