Tods Shoes Ferrari Recommended and Cooperated With
The Italian sports car company is not an uninterested party. It has a commercial arrangement that results in a Ferrari-for-the-feet version of Tod Gommino moccasin. Of course, when I say famous I mean famous to people who are interested in shoes.
Next thing I'm driving around an industrial estate in the region of Marche, looking for a dark satanic mill with Tods shoes written on the smoke-blackened bricks above the doorway. The satellite navigation says I've reached my destination, but I'm staring at a pair of vast silver gates, through which I can see a broad paved avenue leading through parklands to a shimmering white marble building in the distance.
The talk turns, for the first time, to the business at hand. Tod's shoes are apparently a perfect fit for Australians.
Ferrari shoes from Tod's ... in the car company's famous red and with its black prancing horse logo. Ferrari shoes from Tod's ... in the car company's famous red and with its black prancing horse logo. Supplied"The philosophy of Tod's is quality, is lifestyle, is iconic and everything is about hand-made," Della Valle says. "The roots, this is very important. We are the third generation, but we are telling a story in a very contemporary way."
Design, prototyping and much of the production is done here. Della Valle introduces me to a room full of designers discussing collections for the 2018 European summer. They usually work in a row of studios representing the group's four brands: Tod's, Hogan, Fay and Roger Vivier (originally French).
These brands produce accessories, some clothing and, since 1997, a very successful Tod's bag collection. A "wall of fame" upstairs shows dozens of Hollywood A-listers and European celebrities shod in Tod's. The company's D Bag was retrospectively named in honour of a major fan, the late Princess Diana.
Most processes at Tod's involve intricate hand work. The group pioneered mixing formal suits with casual footwear, particularly luxury sneakers. Supplied Della Valle fills me in on the "casual business" trend (It must be obvious that upheavals in fashion over the preceding decades have completely passed me by.)
He says the mixing of formal suits with casual footwear, particularly luxury sneakers, was pioneered by Tods Sale.
The Tod's name (originally J.P. Tod's) is an invention, chosen to roll off the tongue in any language. The Tods Gommino is perhaps the embodiment of casual luxury, or stealth wealth. Modelled on the leather moccasins worn by sports car drivers in the 1950s, it takes its name from the gommini, the 133 rubber pebbles that poke through the leather underneath to provide the sole.
The shimmering white marble Tod's headquarters at the end of the broad paved driveway. SuppliedStyles range from quietly classy to, well, loudly rococo. Every Gommino shoe has a hand-stitched vamp that takes an experienced worker 15 minutes to complete.
In the prototyping area, an artisan is interpreting a sketch of a Gommino that is lower and longer than any real shoe, rather like an old brochure illustration of a sports car. The object of the sketch is to capture the feel of what is required, rather than the exact dimensions.
Using a design program on his computer, a wooden shoe buck, and squares of paper and leather, this man has to produce a prototype that can go into production in all sizes and three different fittings (Tod's makes slightly different shaped shoes for the Asian, American and European markets). There are as many as 40 components in a basic shoe, highlighting the complexity of the design job.
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