Tod’s: A vey plush debut by Walter Chiapponi
Fashion, addicted to permanent change, likes few things more than a debut -- and it witnessed an impressive one Friday morning in Milan at Tod’s.
With poise and a dash of aristocratic nonchalance, the brand’s new designer Walter Chiapponi presented his first women’s collection for Tod’s. And seconds after model Mariacarla Boscono made the final exit from the catwalk, the decision was rendered. Walter is a hit.
Too often before, Tod’s designers have served up stiff uptight clothes dominated with overwrought leather looks. Not Chiapponi, who concentrated on creating a highly plausible selection of understandable clothes.
His opening look made his intentions clear – a classy lady with somewhat messy hair, who looked like she had crawled out of bed and thrown on the best pieces from her daddy’s wardrobe – a blue artist’s smock under a classical beige blazer worn with Pacific-blue corduroy pants that were way too long. On her feet, not Tod’s moccasins, but Stan Smith-style white sneakers.
In fact, practically every pair of pants were a couple of inches too long, adding to the sense of insouciance. Often paired with a great series of top coats; again many rather mannish, and made of dry wools. And often pinched from the wardrobe of the gals’ father, or even granddad – like the marvelous matelassé coat on Kaia Gerber, nipped at the waist with a thin white belt.
Chiapponi is naturally gifted tailor, whose sense of proportion is innately flattering. So when he played with proportions it all worked. Like the excellent sky blue leather apron dress paired with a dark oversized nylon flight jacket with billowing sleeves.
Plus, there was an element of the Anglo Saxon intellectual in Tuscany that also resonated – with some great speckled tweed suits and checked jumpsuits. Savile Row on the Arno. Even the one male model in the show was an Englishman. The at-ease styling was by another Briton, Katie Grand, adding the ideal dose of detachment.
“I wanted to make a complete wardrobe, staring with lifestyle pieces - trench-coats, pea-coats and biker jackets. I don’t like anything too overdesigned. And I wanted an aristocratic look to the models but with an edge,” explained Chiapponi.
The plush mood was emphasized by the seating – a series on soft velvet benches and a carpeted runway. Even the logo was revamped in a large alcove, with a huge golden 'T' backlit and placed on a red velvet wall.
Chiapponi’s finale did indeed feature leather – most notably Boscono’s edgy patchwork leather coat, made from recycled scrap shoe leather from the factory. A nod to sustainability and a neat way of finishing an accomplished debut collection. Expect to hear lots more about Chiapponi. He would appear to have plenty of staying power.
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