Italian for Experts In his debut collection for Tod’s, Walter Chiapponi rediscovers the classics in luxury
Newly appointed Tod’s Creative Director Walter Chiapponi made his creative runway debut for Fall 2020. And he wants you to know there is more to Tod’s than its famous driving shoe and library of loafers, boots sandal et al. “When I was looking in the archives, I noticed there was a strong focus on the shoes and that this Italian lifestyle was lost a bit.” he told The Impression backstage post-show, humbly thanking guests for coming. He added, “I really thought that this classic identity was a bit lost in the market, so I loved bringing back the sensual touch represented by this way of living.” Show notes referred to it as the “Italianness” of Tod’s good taste “not as a rule but as a way of life.”
The designer revived wardrobe staples into fresh silhouettes with an edge. It was heavy naturally on the outerwear and paired rich luxe fabrics; cashmere knits; wool suiting, wool plaid flannels, fine cotton shirting and technical nylons with its rich leathers in subtle tasteful warm neutral tones such as camel, tobacco, green, white, black and red.
Like fine food where the best ingredients make the best meal, Tod’s sets its luxury standards on a high bar which made Chiapponi’s task simple. “The product is well made from the best materials so to achieve this was easy for me,” he said. While not specifically referencing any decade, the designer defined these classic Italian Tod’s women through a lens via the 70s and 80s but keeping it young and fresh. Case in point, bare legs and miniskirt dresses were shown with an oversized leather bomber, shearling or with a classic white shirt for example.
The sensuality the designer was referring to was evident in an emphasized waist by pairing fine leather belts with padded and somewhat bulky in some cases outerwear. The latter provided the chicest cocoon for Kaia Gerber. Or smooth butter-soft leathers on a shirt or minidress.
The luxe factor isn’t gluttonous at Tod’s. Chiapponi knows today’s generation does care about accountability when it comes to sustainability and ethical practices. The 70s codes within the collection were witnessed in a group of patchwork pieces – a skirt, a shirt jacket and fabulous mid-calf length belted jacket that rang more counterculture than Italian upper crust – were all made from discarded pieces of leather leftover from Tod’s shoe construction. “The idea of making an embellishment but using recycling is a sustainable approach.”
Embellishment though is a measured task for Chiapponni. He introduced a simple hobo in two sizes that adds a bit of cool to the lifestyle. “I don’t like the idea of attitude or approach of overdesigned stuff; I worked with a pattern on a piece of paper to build the shape of the bag without too much embellishment or construction. It’s going back to the essence.”
Making his mark on the house and establishing his point of view, a lone male model joined the line-up of women. “It wasn’t about gender fluidity but more about family and community. It’s me saying that women and men are on the same ground and can rely on one another.” Thankfully, Tod’s can rely on Chiapponi to deliver the goods.