An Elegance Beyond Fashion
Tod's Group President and CEO Diego Della Valle was in Hong Kong early summer 2009 to introduce Tod's pictorial bible of refined Italian families, which hits bookshops this month. He shares his enthusiasm with Jill Triptree
Rita and Gianfilippo Del Bono, Milan
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 and sophisticated".