With good reason, she has just spent the past few months working on the first flagship for her namesake brand, slated to open in Milan’s Via Santo Spirito next July, where the floor will pay homage to her homeland. “Instead of putting patterns on the walls, which get tiring, I went for a motif on the floor with different stones that nods to Ipanema but not in an obvious way,” she said at the Paris presentation of her fall 2022 collection at the Hôtel de Crillon.
Diniz, who is married to fashion investor and Formula 1 mogul Lawrence Stroll, came to Milan to study at Istituto Marangoni, before going to work for public relations maven Noona Smith-Petersen. To ensure she had an appropriate wardrobe to work events for clients such as Valentino — “where I wanted to eventually work,” the designer said — she put her design skills to use making outfits for herself.
“People started asking me where I had bought these dresses. I sold one, two, three, then I had to give up the day job and work in my living room,” she remembered.
Made-to-order turned into a ready-to-wear business in 2016. Presented twice a year during Milan Fashion Week, the range was soon picked up by the likes of Matchesfashion, Net-a-porter, Harrods, Antonioli and the now-defunct Montaigne Market.
Poised for further expansion, Diniz’s foray into America was curtailed when Barney’s folded. And then the pandemic hit, and the demand for the kind of feminine and flirty numbers that is her specialty plummeted.
The opening of this 750-square-foot space feels like a corner has finally been turned, she said. It will carry a high summer collection, featuring her exuberant floral designs and knack for color — including her favorite, the sunny yellow of the ipe amarelo flower native to Brazil. Her pre-fall and fall lines, inspired by the graphic lines and contours of the Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori.
A new category for the brand is knitwear, which she feels fit the “woman always on the go — working, traveling, interested in new cultures and new places,” she designs for. There will also be upcycled leather jewelry, created in collaboration with Italian designer Maria Sole Ferragamo.
Working on this first flagship also whetted her appetite for interiors. “It’s opening a whole other avenue for me. I’m in love with building things — maybe a homewear line,” she mused. In the meantime, there’s one immediate benefit she is looking forward to. “My living room will be a bit more quiet,” she laughed.