With the global retail scene constantly evolving to cater to a new crop of consumers whose buying decisions are based on factors other than price, an increasing number of brands are developing strategies to meet the expectations. Some have adopted the “see-now, buy-now” concept to satiate the appetite for immediacy, or reworked the customer experience in-store to set themselves apart in this digital-driven landscape. Others, meanwhile, are going back to the basics to rethink the codes that have played an integral part in their storytelling.
The latest brand to join the fray? Tod’s. Under the direction of its President and CEO Diego Della Valle, the Italian leather goods House has introduced T Factory—a series of ongoing collaborations that will see the brand work with a myriad talents from various disciplines to reinterpret its DNA. Much like Andy Warhol’s Factory, where groups of artists once came together to break rules and push the boundaries of creativity, Tod’s aims to launch a fruitful dialogue that will be embodied in capsule collections made available throughout the year.
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First in the pipeline is a range by Alessandro Dell’Acqua, who couldn’t have been a more suitable candidate to kick-start the project. The 55-year-old Italian designer founded No. 21 and currently heads Parisian Maison, Rochas. Known for utilising accents of lingerie and lace as part of his ultra-feminine aesthetic, Dell’Acqua is also noted for marrying “eccentricity” with craft in the subtlest of ways—perfect for a brand that has long been combining tradition and modernity through its innovative leather know-how.
Dell’Acqua went to work by first respecting the modus operandi and heritage of Tod’s: The significance of the “Made in Italy” tag, plus the other values that constitute the ideal Italian lifestyle of good taste and fine living, also found resonance with him. He told Harper’s BAZAAR in an exclusive interview: “There is this focus on creativity, innovation, and the almost obsessive care to details and taste. My objective is to express a common vision of nonchalant glamour through the combination of my imagery and the Italian excellence of Tod’s.”
The designer was given carte blanche to dream up new vessels of luxury for Tod’s; buoyed by the freedom, he worked closely with the brand’s artisans, who translated his vision into reality. “The touch and the quality of the finish are essential,” he said. “They give character and identity.” A restrained colour palette of black, tan and Dell’Acqua’s favourite blush pink was spread over a parka-hoodie hybrid, a leather trench coat, or shiny cropped trousers. The brand’s signature “gommini”, or pebbles,
gave moccasins, flat-heel ballerinas with velvet bows and ankle boots a sophisticated, tactile allure. It was a versatile wardrobe that married a sense of metropolitan cool and artisanal spirit, while achieving the goal of reaffirming both the visual language of Dell’Acqua and Tod’s. “It’s important to keep a unique identity and strong sense of style,” Dell’Acqua added. “People nowadays have to be able to recognise your dress from a simple picture on Instagram.”
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