The Italian luxury brand Tod’s appointed a new Creative Director last year, Walter Chiapponi, and OHLALA had the opportunity to talk to him for an exclusive insight into his work.
OHLALA – As an Italian yourself, Tod’s must be a brand you know very well and are accustomed to its tradition in luxury goods. What part of the brand DNA is the most significant for you and that you want to ensure is present in your collections?
Walter Chiapponi – My first priority when I started was, and still is, to respect the Tod’s DNA, which is the most exquisite Made in Italy concept, using the best leathers. Keeping this in mind, all I create starts from the leathers, working them as luxurious fabrics. It is definitely challenging but full of beautiful surprises.
OHLALA – And what are the innovations you plan on applying? Anything, in particular, that is very personal to you?
Walter – More than innovations, we are adding a new taste without changing the DNA. The idea is to combine Tod’s Italian lifestyle with a touch of modernity without ever losing sight of the high quality and craftsmanship representing the brand’s DNA.
OHLALA – You are the first Creative Director at Tod’s to oversee both the womenswear and menswear lines. What is the most challenging part of this combined position?
Walter – The teams I am working with are great and having a complete overview of both collections is easier, in a way, because it gives you the full portrait of the brand’s identity.
OHLALA – What was your main intention when conceiving Tod’s autumn and winter 2021 collection? Any specific concept you wanted to highlight?
Walter – The autumn and winter 2021 is a journey within shades of elegance that redefines the idea of the refined Italian taste with a new edge. This season, the world of sportswear meets the voluptuous femininity of couture without sacrificing function and utility. The result is iconic garments with new volumes and unexpected details for all functions and occasions. Quilting and padding run through cropped leather duvet jackets, knee-length dresses and coats draw a sinuous silhouette. Tailoring has a rebellious ease, while sheepskin is used for a coat, but also a hat. Out of scale hats complete the looks, evoking an accessory from a past era. Accessories add further points of view. The bags are exaggeratedly large, such as the T Timeless with its raw-cut profile, or others with enveloping, curved shapes, made even more evident by the use of sheepskin and shiny leathers, as shown on the Oboe, the softly constructed hobo bag. The chunky heeled loafers are bright blocks of colour; the two-tone men’s shoes are fastened by buckles or shaped like loafers and have high creeper soles on which the rubber Gomminos appear. The T marks and characterises the pieces on the top of the moccasins, while the same timeless T returns on belts and bags.
OHLALA – How important is your connection with the artisans behind the construction of your creative pieces? Do you teach more or learn more?
Walter – It is crucial. It is part of Tod’s DNA and philosophy, they are our roots from where we never stop learning. It is a constant exchanging of opinions; it is based on mutual trust.
OHLALA – Special collections have been developed for Middle Eastern consumers, such as the Limited-Edition Arabic Sandals. Do you intend to expand these creations?
Walter – Capsule collections are important, especially for countries like yours. Since they are capsules, we want to maintain them this way but definitely keep doing them. Like all Tod’s leather goods, the Arabic Sandal is made in Italy and uses materials from some of the best tanneries in the world. They come in a minimalist design with a lightweight rubber sole, a central buckle and leather dyed in different shades. The colours range from classic black and white to deep blue and brown hues in four different colour combinations.
OHLALA – How do you intend to connect Tod’s to the younger generations? What are the values that you want to pursue to make this connection a meaningful one?
Walter – Tod’s is a deeply rooted brand, our philosophy of Made in Italy products of the highest quality are the most important aspects on which we need to build the loyalty amongst the younger generations.