For over 120 years Tod’s has continued its legacy of finely crafted pieces, made in Italy with the most exquisite attention to detail and the most luxurious materials.
When Walter Chiapponi was appointed as Creative Director of Tod’s womenswear and menswear by Chairman Diego Della Valle in 2019, it opened the beginning of a new creative chapter for the Italian luxury House. Chiapponi’s contemporary style adds a modern touch to the traditional DNA and legacy of Tod’s. Chiapponi’s debut collection for autumn/winter 2020 was presented last March. Shortly after things took a surprising turn when Italy went into a three-month lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In such unexpected circumstances, this meant that the Spring/ Summer 2021 collection, which debuted in September, was entirely created during the lockdown. “It was right after the collection re-see” Said Chiapponi. “My team and I immediately started to work from home, meeting virtually every day. After a show takes place it is crucial that we make any small corrections needed and start production, as well as activating all the activities around the launch. Catalogues, lookbooks, the advertising campaign to name a few. So we kept ourselves very busy and above all, we managed to stay very close despite being physically far apart.”
The collection celebrates the excellence and know-how of Tod’s craftsmanship, while catering to the modern men and women of today. “For women, we have washed suede and canvas safari jackets, liquid duster jackets, patchwork leather blousons, pleated trousers and long shirts that are the respectable items of a summer trip.” Chiapponi explains. “Clean, simple shapes and washed, worn-out textures offer a relaxed road trip-vibe, while bold clashing colours created and a fun-filled, refreshing mood that had us envisioning our next summer holiday. Materials are soft and light, making the pieces easy to wear and comfortable. The men’s collection is informal and relaxed much like the women’s. The spirit of the urban traveller is captured with must-have pieces for the season; the field jacket, the Polo shirts, the soft pullovers and loose trousers that are easy to wear and stylish”
Accessories always play a lead role in the Italian House’s collection due to its long history in leather craftsmanship and shoemaking. “The Gommino sandals are decorated with studs and fastened with laces that rise to the ankle, so the foot appears almost bare on the high-cork platform wedges.” Explains Chiapponi. “The intangibility of the plexiglass hourglass heels contrasts with the palpable tactile nature of the leather straps on sandals. Boots are made of canvas. The archive T Timeless reoccurs as a sign on loafers and bags with a geometric profile. Shoppers are made with minimal cuts of leather; the bucket bags are made of calfskin. The Shirt Bag is made by folding large pieces of fine leather. Tod’s Oboe bag is the new version of the hobo with a soft profile.”
A collection that combines tradition with modernity, these iconic pieces aim to capture Tod’s commitment to its own DNA but staying true and relevant to today’s customer. Chiapponi explains: “Tod’s is a brand with a strong-rooted DNA of timeless, iconic pieces known and loved globally. Many of which have become a true phenomenon among international celebrities and loyal customers. What we are doing with the iconic Tod’s products is keeping them as they are, but adding contemporary touches, combining them with cool pieces of ready-to-wear and balancing the new with the classic.”
As well as preserving its heritage, Tod’s has a strong dedication to sustainability, which is reflected through the collections. “I strongly believe this is one of the most important topics of today.” Said Chiapponi. “Indeed, we live in a society, which is a consequence of the abuse of nature by humans. We have started a long process to try to save the environment because the stakes are high. I’m talking about the future for us and for the future generations. Fashion has a huge responsibility to sustain the common goal to save the planet and to save energy. This means that I have worked on jackets made of recycled nylon, or bags made of leftover pieces of leather.”
“At the heart of Tod’s Autumn-Winter 20/21 collection is the very idea of good taste, intended not as a rule or a limitation, but as a way of life.” Said Chiapponi. “I wanted to draw on Italy’s class and elegance, giving it a contemporary twist, for women who love classics, with respect and a touch of subtle boldness. The Tod’s woman’s wardrobe is packed with classics, icons or essential must-haves. The silhouette is feminine and self-assured. A concept of daywear that nurtures the senses moving away from the extremes of fashion. My idea was to rediscover classics for the Tod’s man, displaying elegance as an attitude, imprinted with a touch of gentle rebellion. I imagined the Tod’s “T Club” representing a group of men and free-spirited attitude, which characterises them, along with their inherent culture of dressing. To me, it’s a question of taste and savoir-vivre.”
While the world may be in a turbulent place, one thing is for sure; Tod’s exceptional craftsmanship and dedication to Italian tradition will remain for years to come. “Tod’s represents the true Italian lifestyle that is known and loved all over the world. After meeting Mr. Della Valle for the first time I was focused on experiencing Tod’s DNA and codes, especially its Italian mood, which is rich in cultural references and lifestyle, and my objective was to add a contemporary touch to the Tod’s aesthetic.” Said Chiapponi. As we look forward to the coming months and collections however there is a feeling of change in the way collections are designed. Chiapponi sees a change on the horizon; “it is still difficult to predict what will happen in the coming months, but I am confident Italians will be able to recover from this complicated period.” He said. “In terms of the collections, there is a lot more attention on having only a few strong and precise messages and I obsessively concentrate on the details of craftsmanship and the processing of hides. We return to be more “atelier” and exclusive. I have a great awareness of sustainability and this, along with other values related to the environment and society, will be important in the future. We have definitely learned to work differently and multitasking this will continue. I think we need to bring with us the positive aspects of this terrible adventure.”
The Tod’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection is available at Tod’s stores and online at tods.com