MILAN — An upbeat Diego Della Valle, chairman and chief executive officer of Tod’s SpA, was on hand Sunday at Lapo Elkann’s Garage Italia to present the group’s new project under the No_Code line.
There was a specific reason for the event to be held at the headquarters of Elkann’s customization service for cars, motorcycles, airplanes, helicopters and boats: the Garage Italia for Tod’s capsule collection under the No_Code project will be launched in October. Details were kept under wraps, but Della Valle said it will “perfectly mix our DNA, quality and best materials with a lot of innovation. This will be the best mix in luxury.” No_Code means there are no rules in terms of distribution, timing or seasons, the entrepreneur explained.
Asked why he decided to join forces with the Fiat heir, who also created the Italia Independent eyewear and design line, Della Valle said Elkann has “studied a lot of technology, and he knows our roots very well, yet at the same time he has a very good sense of innovation. This is the first step of a long story.”
The No_Code project will involve a series of collaborations with individuals in different fields. Della Valle said perhaps a tie-up with the “new heroes of Silicon Valley” could be up next in six or seven months. “This is about another attitude inside the Tod’s philosophy within the overall Tod’s brand,” he said.
Della Valle has set in motion a change within the group’s vertically integrated pipeline, persuading his longtime artisans to embrace the fact that “this is no longer a seasonal company. We worked to explain to our 6,000 shoemakers that this is the only way. People tried to resist because they believe quality takes time, but now we need to have the best quality and the right timing.”
The executive has also made some changes within his company to achieve this. In November, Tod’s revealed that ceo Stefano Sincini was leaving after 33 years with the company, to be succeeded by Umberto Macchi di Cellere, previously managing director of worldwide sales for all product categories for the Bulgari brand. “You need a well-oiled machine. I did this not because new is necessarily better, but it’s different,” Della Valle said.
Whatever the new direction, he was adamant that it is “very important to not lose our aesthetic. It’s better to have credibility and not forget your roots. And think of a charming communication because sometimes roots are boring — you have to have a new way to communicate.”
Elkann concurred with Della Valle, saying that No_Code was “outside the ranks. We bounced off ideas and we wanted something unique and different, innovating artisanal tradition.” He explained that he and Della Valle “have always believed in Italy and pushed for it, each in our own way. The white piece of paper is when I have the most fun, being creative.”
His involvement with Tod’s will involve projects both within the No_Code project and outside of that particular project, Elkann said.
The Garage Italia project was officially launched in March 2015. At that time, Elkann acquired a historic former Agip station, located in Milan’s Piazzale Accursio and commissioned in 1952 by Enrico Mattei, the founder of the national Fuel Trust Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi. Originally designed by Mario Bacciocchi, who was inspired by the American Streamline style of the Thirties and focused on aerodynamic lines, the location was completely restored and renovated by architect Michele De Lucchi to house Garage Italia’s headquarters, inaugurated last November.
Separately, Tod’s on Friday launched a No_Code men’s black sneaker in leather and neoprene that will be available in the brand’s boutiques starting in July.