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2013 September 26

Tod's Time: Checking In With Creative Director Alessandra Facchinetti

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Alessandra Facchinetti, right, with Caroline Issa at MFW Alessandra Facchinetti, right, with Caroline Issa at MFW
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(MILAN) Tod’s new creative director, Alessandra Facchinetti, has worked at many legendary houses. She succeeded Tom Ford at Gucci, then served as creative director at Valentino. No small fashion feats! But it’s her first season at Tod’s that has everyone talking right now. After a slew of great reviews in Milan, we caught up with Facchinetti recently to find out her approach for the conservative label. Plus…we found out she’s a foodie!
BY PAIGE REDDINGER

You’ve had great reviews on your first collection! 
It was kind of unexpected, I have to say! We’re happy because everyone really caught the message. It was the best possible result for me. 

Did Tod’s give you complete creative rein?
When I started I worked on accessories a lot, obviously so that was the first thing I started on. After that, I set my vision on the clothes. It was easier to think about her in flats or low shoes because, of course, the Tod’s girl wears moccasins! So I thought about what she’d wear with those shoes. I started to think about her lifestyle and I tried to imagine different moments—at work, going to a play, out on a walk, when traveling. I wanted things to be elegant, but comfortable. 

Is it hard to update a brand so steeped in heritage?
It was not easy, but it was interesting. The good thing is, Tod’s and I are both Italian. That really helps a lot. In the beginning, I thought that it would be a good partnership—but not as good as it has come out! You really need to know everything about the country to express real Italian style.   

What is your aesthetic?
I like old masters like Ponti, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, and Paolo Scheggi and Agostino Bonalumi, the master Italian painters in the Fifties.  I called my friend who has an Italian gallery in London and I said, “I would love to have one from Fontana, and one from this one, but all in black…can you find it?” [laughs].  They found it! It was exactly what I was looking for. So for instance, the Scheggi paintings served as inspiration for the jewelry and the cut-outs I did in the skirt came from this abstract language from these painters. 

Any surprises about the Tod’s brand since starting at the mag?
I never really realized how comfortable the shoes are! Really, they changed my life. Truly, I’m not joking! I’m serious. I mean obviously the car shoes, but even the other shoes. Oh my God, you could walk for days! They feel so good. Aesthetic doesn’t always fit with comfort so it’s not easy to combine the two, but with them there is not one product that isn’t comfortable.   

Where should we eat when we’re in Milan next season?
One of my favorite places is Latteria, which is close to via San Marco. It’s almost like a kitchen: It’s very small and there are only a few tables. It’s owned by an older couple; they cook extremely well. It’s like home cooking. It’s 101 percent Italian: very sophisticated, but simple. You must go there and try the polpetti! 

Do you have any New York faves?
I like to hang out on the Bowery. And I love Café Gitane. I could stay there forever! It’s great people watching and I like to sit there and sketch. I always get the classic couscous dish and the focaccia.




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