PARIS — The cat is out of the bag: After setting tongues wagging by attending Alessandro dell’Acqua’s No. 21 show in Milan, entrepreneur Diego Della Valle said Tuesday he has drafted the designer to create the first capsule collection for Tod’s under its new strategy.
As reported in February, the Italian luxury group is overturning its business model and launching a new project called Tod’s Factory, in a reference to Andy Warhol. In a system mirroring the streetwear drop, it will release a mix of capsules and limited editions in collaboration with different designers and friends of the house.
“We need to have to have — maximum every two months — a new product going on the market directly,” Della Valle told a room full of fashion editors at a breakfast meeting at the Ritz Paris hotel during Paris Fashion Week.
“We try to remain what we are, and at the same time we put curiosity in our product, a lot of creativity and movement,” added the executive, who was flanked by dell’Acqua and model Edie Campbell, who is the face of the collection. “We are doing more in one year than we did in the previous 20.”
He noted that with the speed of social media, collections could no longer be presented every six months. Tod’s has tested the waters by joining forces with retailers such as Mytheresa.com, and said it also planned to enlist rising photographers, students and filmmakers to court a younger customer.
Dell’Acqua’s collection consists of nine shoe styles and seven ready-to-wear pieces in three colorways — pink, black and tan — and will hit stores from mid-November, the brand said. It includes variations on its signature driving shoes such as pointy-toed moccasins with a velvet bow, or stretch ankle boots with curved heels.
“It’s been a huge honor,” the designer said, adding that he felt like he did at the beginning of his career, working with traditional craftsmen.
Tod’s has been without a women’s creative director since Alessandra Facchinetti stepped down in 2016, but plans to continue showing seasonal collections in Milan. Andrea Incontri is in charge of the men’s division.
Smaller collections with more frequent drops fits in with the fashion world’s latest strategy to try to excite consumers beyond the main seasons twice a year. Picking up from streetwear brands such as Supreme and Kith, luxury labels from Givenchy to Kiton are adopting the concept.
Tod’s has shaken up its executive ranks to help push this strategy forward. In November, it revealed that chief executive officer Stefano Sincini was leaving after 33 years with the company, to be succeeded by Umberto Macchi di Cellere, previously managing director of worldwide sales at Bulgari.
Della Valle said then that 2018 was going to be a year of transition, citing the new team of managers and a strong component of innovation.
The group reported a 2.8 percent decrease in net profit to 33.7 million euros in the first half, but Della Valle noted that at constant exchange rates, revenues at both Tod’s and Roger Vivier had returned to growth. On Tuesday, he acknowledged luxury brands are going through turbulent times.
“There is an incredible confusion in the market. Now, everything is like a Nike store,” he said. Nonetheless, Della Valle believes brands should remain true to their roots, which in the case of Tod’s is Italian quality and craftsmanship. “What I suggest: try to stay in your DNA 100 percent, but what changes is the communication.”
As for future designer collaborations? His brief was simple. “The feeling is: ‘People with taste.’ I don’t want to have around me people without taste, because these people don’t know anything, they destroy everything in two seasons,” he said to laughter from the room.