Tod’s Has a Fresh Look But Won’t Be Getting a New Creative Director: Diego Della Valle Explains Why
Diego Della Valle, one of Italian fashion’s most visible fashion plutocrats, jetted into London this Fashion Week to survey a vital outpost of empire. After a long refurbishment, Tod’s Bond Street store has reopened. It’s handsome: 6,000 square, airy feet clad in vachetta leather accented with the shine of steel and marble. What it isn’t, though, is revolutionary—it feels very Tod’s—and as Della Valle pointed out as we chatted on a low white leather sofa, that’s absolutely on purpose.
He said: “The idea is not to change our DNA but to make the next step. There is the same materials, more or less, and a few of our symbols—the luggage—plus one or two more to come in the next few months. This, and a store in Singapore, are the first examples of refreshed Tod’s aesthetic that will in time roll out across its global network.”
Our chat was soundtracked by the urgent hum of tattooist Saira Hunjan’s needle. The excellent London-based tattooist has been recruited by Tod’s to make a very limited edition of its Double T bag launched alongside a film about the project with Suki Waterhouse. The capsule is especially interesting because it reflects Della Valle’s hunch about the future of fashion. Currently, he says, he is not planning to recruit an above-the-line creative director to replace Alessandra Facchinetti, who parted with Tod’s in May after three years.
He said: “The protagonist whose face can be more important than the brand, I do not want to do. . . . Everything is changing in the relationship between fashion houses and their customers, and there are many points of view. I think service is one thing, but to kill the dream is another. If you want to buy one of these bags, well, this artist spends 22 hours making each one. So maybe you have to wait for awhile.”
Della Valle added that regular limited editions and capsule projects will complement his plans—which are about to hatch—for a new format of fashion show. “In fact, we are not calling it a show, but a happening.” A happening? So something a little ’60s? Della Valle refused to spill the beans but added: “You’ll see in Milan next week! I think maybe a few journalists will want to kill me, but I hope that many of them will love it. It’s something new, and we need to keep trying new ideas.”
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