Tod's sensual elegance on show amidst The Seven Heavenly Palaces
The runway show staged by Tod’s at HangarBicocca, inside the Pirelli Museum, was one of the most spectacular events of the recently concluded Milan Fashion Week. The Italian label’s Fall/Winter 2023-24 collection, designed by Walter Chiapponi, was showcased within artist Anselm Kiefer’s vertiginous leaning towers installation. A majestic, evocative setting where models like Laetitia Casta and Irina Shayk starred in a runway show in which elegance rhymed with sensuality.
“I have always centred my work on romanticism, tenderness and sensuality. This season, my emphasis is on eroticism and, since I’m always going on about Italian lifestyle, I have to say that Italian women have a very special eroticism,” said Chiapponi, creative director of Tod’s, talking to FashionNetwork.com. He added that “for next winter’s collection, I’ve amused myself deconstructing and reconstructing the world of men’s tailoring, turning it into something extremely feminine. As for accessories, after a long time I’ve gone back to high heels, combining them with the structure typical of men's shoes. To create my looks, sometimes I actually start with shoes. More than any other product, they illustrate this collection’s different moods. Handbags, on the other hand, are reminiscent in some cases of small cameras, while others are just a piece of folded leather, with no stitching or decorations. They’re very basic, spontaneous, just like me. The word on everyone’s lips after the show was ‘powerful’, and that’s what I like to think I managed to convey with this collection.”
The collection's signature items include a pea coat with leather-covered buttons in the style of Tod's iconic gommino shoe soles, a parka with couture accents, a series of cropped, cinched bomber jackets, in nappa leather or in wool with shearling trimming, and elegantly cut padded jackets in fabric or leather. And also men's suits, some of them pinstriped, featuring power-shouldered jackets with no lapels worn over structured shirts, and cocooning oversized coats down to the ankles. The knitwear is uber-feminine, a zipped polo shirt has leather accents, and a knitted dress is both sensual and enveloping. The fabrics chosen by Chiapponi are exclusively natural: wool and cotton combine with the softest and most exquisite leather, personalised with artisanal treatments. The colour palette is mostly restricted to warm hues, beige, brown and cream, but includes sharp black or white looks.
Tod's boss Diego Della Valle beamed with satisfaction in the front row, surrounded by familiar faces such as Anna Wintour, Chiara Ferragni and the label’s Asian ambassadors, actors Xiao Zhan, Liu Shi Shi and Nana Eikura. As Della Valle told FashionNetwork.com at the show, he was also pleased with the number of Far-Eastern buyers making their way back to Milan. “We’re on track to return to pre-pandemic levels and, if I look at the results of 2022 and the start of 2023, I think we can say we’ve done a good job. Like most Italian entrepreneurs, who rolled up their sleeves and managed to save their companies and, with them, the jobs of thousands of employees and suppliers. We must focus on Italian lifestyle because it’s what the world is looking for: it's our major asset,” said Della Valle.
Pirelli HangarBicocca is a not-for-profit foundation set up in Milan in 2004, when a disused industrial plant was converted into the home of an organisation that produces and promotes contemporary art. Kiefer’s ‘The Seven Heavenly Palaces’ installation was conceived and presented for the opening of the Pirelli Hangar. It owes its name to the palaces described in the ancient Hebrew treatise ‘Sefer Hekhalot’ (the book of palaces), dating back to the 4th-5th century AD. The installation’s seven towers are made of reinforced concrete. Each weighs 90 tons, and they vary in height from 14 to 18 metres.
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