MILAN — Tod’s chairman and chief executive officer Diego Della Valle has big plans to expand the luxury brand and has tapped Alessandra Facchinetti as creative director.
The designer is to oversee the women’s accessories collections as well as expand its ready-to-wear division. The first collection under Facchinetti will bow for spring 2014 during Milan Fashion Week in September.
“This is a project about luxury and culture. It’s the right moment to further boost our products that are made in Italy, with a top designer,” said an upbeat Della Valle on Wednesday morning, dressed in a blue suit and tie, at the Tod’s offices here. “She is an excellent Italian designer who knows about Made in Italy. Her being Italian is an added asset, not a secondary one.”
“It’s a great opportunity and a challenge. I feel very confident; there are many elements that we share. I’ve always worked for companies paying attention to quality and luxury,” said Facchinetti a former Gucci and Valentino head designer.
A visibly pleased Facchinetti, all dressed in white, said she still has to familiarize herself with the archives and that it was too early to provide details about her plans for the brand. “Tod’s is a point of reference in its respect for Made in Italy production and I plan to bring my experience and Italian traits to the label,” said the designer.
While premature to talk about a potential runway show, both Facchinetti and Della Valle said they were looking at alternative solutions.
Facchinetti succeeds Derek Lam, who joined Tod’s in November 2006 and left last fall. But her remit is much broader than Lam’s, who did primarily capsule collections rather than the full line of rtw Facchinetti will design.
Tod’s is the leading brand under the Tod’s SpA group, which includes Hogan, Fay and Roger Vivier. In 2012, the Tod’s brand remained the group’s core business, with sales of 569.7 million euros, or $729.2 million, up 16.8 percent from the year before.
Gains in Asia and the U.S. and a strong performance by the Tod’s and Roger Vivier brands contributed to a 7.8 percent rise in 2012 preliminary revenues, despite a drop in domestic sales.
In the period ended Dec. 31, the Italian luxury group posted preliminary sales of 963.1 million euros, or $1.23 billion, compared with 893.6 million euros, or $1.24 billion, in 2011.
Dollar amounts have been converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.
There are 190 Tod’s-branded boutiques globally and the company plans to open three new units in São Paulo, Brazil; two in Japan’s Tokyo and Hiroshima, and in France’s Strasbourg and Bordeaux, and additional stores in China.
However, Della Valle stressed that, “in a commercial world, where everyone is rushing to open new stores, and grow quickly with big double-digit leaps, we are focused on luxury and exclusivity. Exclusivity is the dream.”
Speaking on the first day of Milan Fashion Week, Della Valle also took pains to talk about Milan and the need to create “at least one big event per season,” and strong exhibitions to boost the city’s appeal — a topic top of mind among designers and executives this season. “Fashion week is a product to sell, we need someone to sell it well. It’s time for leading individuals to make themselves available.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast