MILAN — Tod’s Group patriarch Dorino Della Valle died Tuesday at Casette d’Ete, the small Italian town where the luxury goods company is based. He was 87.
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Private services will be held on Thursday.
In the Forties, Dorino Della Valle founded the footwear company Della Valle that his son Diego would later rename JP Tod’s and then Tod’s, and grow into an international group listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, helped by Dorino’s other son, Andrea.
Dorino Della Valle, whose own father, Filippo, was a shoemaker, started the business producing footwear for Calvin Klein, Azzedine Alaïa and Neiman Marcus, among others.
“He was a lovely man, very reserved and of few words, but you could see in his eyes how proud he was of his work and of his sons’ endeavors,” said Armando Branchini, deputy chairman of Milan consultancy InterCorporate. “He didn’t consider himself an entrepreneur, but a shoemaker.”
He was among that group of forward-looking industrialists who created the pivotal footwear manufacturing district in Italy’s Marche region, evolving the area from a merely agricultural one to an industrial hub. “He helped shape a new economy there. He not only produced shoes, but also started to sell them. There was an escalation of know-how, work and content,” said Branchini.
A person close to Tod’s Group, who requested anonymity, confirmed speculation in the industry that Della Valle, while he no longer held an official role in the company, was present at the plant almost “every day, all day, providing advice. He was full of ideas and suggestions. There was a very strong bond and connection with his sons.”