ALL TOGETHER NOW: For the first time, Valextra presented in Milan on Saturday a number of its storied handbags revisited by Sunnei, Plan C by Carolina Castiglioni, Arthur Arbesser, La DoubleJ by J.J. Martin and Massimo Alba.
“I’ve always believed that unity is strength,” said Valextra’s chief executive officer Sara Ferrero during a preview at the brand’s showroom. She underscored how it is increasingly “complicated to find resources and talent” for small independent brands in a scenario where large groups are polarizing the industry, and political, social and financial turmoil, from Brexit and the Hong Kong protests to the coronavirus, are impacting businesses. “We need to think outside the box,” she said. Ferrero said the idea was to explain “what the Milanese legacy is about. I find this is not really clear outside of Italy. Milan is seen as a city for shopping, perhaps a bit boring, not like Rome or Barcelona, but we want to celebrate its history, its design and art, how it combines entrepreneurial and creative talent.”
Called Extra Milano, the collection is genderless and will be distributed throughout the year, with monthly drops starting in May with Martin’s take on Valextra. “We are all friends,” said Ferrero of the choice of designers. The project allowed all parties to share know-how, exchange information and contacts, added Ferrero.
Each chose a quintessential Valextra model: Sunnei the Passepartout, embellished with striped intarsia in different materials and colors; Massimo Alba the Serie S in double cashmere, adding details such as a small spinning top; La DoubleJ a Tric Trac model, decorated with circular and colorful intarsia; Castiglioni the cross-body Iside model adorned with the designer’s daughter’s drawings, and Arbesser the Brera bag with added camouflage motifs. Valextra also offers its own take on the Iside inspired by Milan’s marble building entrances, designed by the likes of Piero Portaluppi.