A delighted Diego Della Valle flips through an early edition of Tod's coffee-table
picture book, The Italian Touch. Pointing to one photograph, the group
president and CEO says with a twinkle in his eye: "This is my dear friend; he lives
in an old palace, a crazy man."
He cites a member of the Italian nobility, a name longer than his tailored-shirt-clad
arm (Della Valle is elegantly casual today, wearing jeans and, of course, Tod's
loafers ready for a night flight back to Italy). A few pages on, he pauses at another
photo and shares: "This man's father was friends with the Duke of Windsor. Look
at the typical southern Italian floor." Further on. "See, her place is more like
a loft, not a palace, but still very Italian," he murmurs approvingly.
The Italian Touch, a book of portraits, throws light on some 130 stylish
homes throughout the country and the families who live there. Many are old aristocratic
names, some families, such as the Agostinis (publishing) and Frescobaldis (wine),
are known beyond Italy, others are very low key. There are business people, artists,
architects, musicians and fashionistas. "Quite a lot are my friends; I know some
people," says Della Valle modestly. He smiles: "Italy is not so big."
"The purpose of this tome is to promote not products but a lifestyle
of good taste, high value and understated refinement – qualities embodied in Italian
culture and craftsmanship and thus, by definition, Tod's."
A good number wear Tod's shoes but these are from their own wardrobe, not supplied
by a stylist for the shoot. The purpose of this tome is to promote not products
but a lifestyle of good taste, high value and understated refinement – qualities
embodied in Italian culture and craftsmanship and thus, by definition, Tod's. Or,
as Della Valle puts it, "a beautiful feeling of Italian style – luxurious, simple