Tod’s unveils Tod's Legacy, its debut Central Saint Martins linkup
The Italian luxury marque timed the launch for the opening day of the latest London Fashion Week, a five-day largely virtual season which runs until Tuesday, Feb. 23.
In a clever twist, a total of 35 young designers chosen in a “borderless selection” from the masters course of the famed college spent several months working on individual interpretations of one or more of Tod’s codes.
“We had the idea at the hardest moment of the pandemic last spring when we asked ourselves, 'what could we do to help young designers?' And this project helps support these young creatives and involves them in a project with great artisans. And, to help with their formation by bringing them close to great designers, editors and stylists,” explained Diego Della Valle, Tod’s hard-charging CEO and controlling shareholder, in a pre-launch Zoom.
Conceived as “a laboratory of ideas” linked to the brand’s HQ in the Marche region of Italy, Tod’s Academy assigned each student a highly experienced mentor. These included happening designers like Simone Rocha, Roksanda Ilinčić, Charles Jeffrey or Richard Quinn; noted editors such as Emanuele Farneti or Hamish Bowles; PR whizzes like Lucien Pages; cool stylists like Andrew Davis or Francesca Burns and master merchants like Carla Sozzani or Ruth Chapman.
“I’d like to thank all these very talented many people so very much for making themselves available to help the next generation,” added Della Valle, attired in one of his signature foulards, sitting in front of an antique globe.
In a busy day of some 30 events in London, Tod’s unveiled its independent digital dedicated platform at 4.15 p.m. GMT, with an official listing on the London Fashion Week schedule. In effect, it is a virtual exhibition of the students' inventiveness.
Each tutorial was recorded, and the final presentations were videoed, as can be seen on the platform, as the project pushes students towards innovative ways of working, by delving into their own histories; as they present their takes on Tod’s classics like the 'D' bag, Gommino moccasin or 'T Timeless' bag.
The concept was jointly conceived by Della Valle and Fabio Piras, the course director of Central Saint Martins' MA Fashion Course, who coordinated the project. Tod’s Academy does not encompasses producing any of the ideas for commercial release, but it was clearly a fertile feeding ground for inventive ideas.
Videos capture students running ideas by mentors; presenting moodboards; or ruminating on their inspiration. Stars like Rocha or Ilinčić admiring and nurturing work by new generation students such as Andrej Gronaj or Andrew La Casse.
La Casse reinvented classic Tod’s ideas like the Gommino with new closures and shapes, or as platforms. Developed as full-knitted small bags; or ballerina slippers with rubber studs. While La Casse looked at new materiality, infusing sustainability by employing Pinatex, a pineapple derivative; and revamping a classic sandal by flattening and adding adjustable straps.
Looking ahead, Della Valle suggested that Tod’s may later collaborate with other noted fashion schools, in the U.S., China or Italy. He sees no end date for the platform, which will act as a digital space allowing Tod’s to mount other new initiatives.
“I believe that the St Martins students also learned about the speed of creation, when you have an atelier and artisans. And also about how Tod’s represents the Italian lifestyle, and they can learn from that. I was very impressed by the sheer quality of the work and by the quality of the talent from the school. Fabio Piras is clearly doing a very good job finding and developing talent,” smiled the Tod’s CEO.
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