FLORENCE — Ballantyne has appointed its first creative director: Dawidh di Firmo, who previously was senior designer at Prada for women's wear.
The designer will help add "a more creative, modern and innovative spirit" to Ballantyne's ready-to-wear line, according to Alfredo Canessa, the company's chairman. Born in Italy's Treviglio region in 1974, di Firmo is a graduate of Milan's prestigious Brera Academy of Fine Arts and had been at Prada since 2005. Prior to that he was with Bottega Veneta and Marni.
Di Firmo's first task will be the launch in September of the Ballantyne Heritage Edition, a collection of 26 cardigans from its archives but in contemporary colors and fits. The collection will be identified by a hand-sewn Forties Ballantyne label and packaging embellished with the brand's griffin symbol. The Heritage Edition bowed last week in Florence during the city's international men's wear exhibition Pitti Uomo, as Ballantyne opened its first store there.
Covering 8,000 square feet, the boutique is located on Via Tornabuoni, near the Ponte Vecchio and next to the Gucci, Prada and Bulgari stores. The store is modeled after the company's first unit, which opened in Milan last summer, with teak wood in a honey shade, cashmere curtains, soft pinstriped carpets, Bergère armchairs, mirrors decorated with a diamond serigraphy, reminiscent of Ballantyne's argyle cashmere sweaters, and a gray and plum color palette. A wall of 200 cashmere knits in 60 hues displayed on dark brown ebony shelves takes center stage.
Over the past year, the company has opened six stores, in London, Tokyo and Cortina and Portofino in Italy, in addition to Milan and Florence.
Overall, Ballantyne has 480 points of sale, excluding Japan, where the company counts 20 shops-in-shops. The company, which was founded in Innerleithen, Scotland, and is controlled by Italian equity fund Charme, is also looking at opening a store on New York's Madison Avenue, replacing a previous one that closed two years ago.
The appointment of di Firmo is also part of the company's strategy to approach new markets that are looking for a "younger and more modern Ballantyne," said Canessa. Case in point: Ballantyne will open two stores with Mercury Group in Moscow in the fall and early next year.
“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