As he continues to remake French fashion house Vionnet into a modern — and Italian-based — brand, Matteo Marzotto has enlisted a countryman to speed the process along: Milan shoe designer Giuseppe Zanotti.
“The value of having [Zanotti’s] experience at our disposal is to work on different shapes, to work in the best way with different materials,” explained Marzotto of the spring pre-collection which will be launched today in Milan. Previously, Marzotto said, the company had worked with a smaller Italian factory.
Marzotto, the former chief operating officer of Valentino SpA, teamed up with Marni chief executive officer Gianni Castiglioni in February 2009 to acquire Vionnet. The co-owners swiftly handed Rodolfo Paglialunga, a longtime Prada designer, the creative reins of the company. Paglialunga will work closely with Zanotti on the shoes, which will be available in every door selling Vionnet (about 100 retailers, according to Marzotto). The 25-piece pre-collection will retail for between 450 and 600 euros (about $555 to $740).
A mix of leather and silk fabrics comprise the lineup, some strappy with color-blocked patterns and others with wrap ankles and flat soles. These are not replicas of the fashion house’s storied designs, however. “I made no references to the Madeleine Vionnet shoe archive,” Paglialunga noted.
That said, delivering a restrained elegance was important to Zanotti. “These are the opposite of the trendy shoes,” he said. “Nothing heavy, nothing out of proportion, elements from the Thirties and Forties to the present.” Zanotti, who has worked with Christophe Decarnin of Balmain, Proenza Schouler, and Thakoon on shoe collections, said he welcomes a young perspective on the design process (Paglialunga is 43). “I’m 53 years old, absolutely an old shoemaker,” Zanotti said. “But we are absolutely partners. We want to make the woman feel wonderful, but stable with the heel.”
The shoe collection is an integral, yet only partial, component of the growing Vionnet brand. Licensing other categories, Marzotto noted, is very much on his mind. “Madeleine Vionnet [was] one of the first designers to do perfume,” he said. “In the Twenties, she started with four different scents. So there’s a strong history there. We’d like to restart these things, but not too much at one time.”
“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