Image from Tod’s Autumn/Winter 2014 collection;
The D-Cube bag, sketches from her portfolio
Alessandra’s vision of her Autumn/Winter 2014 show;
Models showcasing the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection
More sketches from her portfolio
A model walks the ramp at Tod’s Autumn/Winter 2014 show
Tod’s Gommino Spilla
Alessandra’s sketches detailing her vision for Tod’s shoes and hats for the collection
It began with a phone call, a very normal call between an Italian manager and an Italian fashion designer. And that was how Alessandra Facchinetti found herself appointed as the new Creative Director of Tod’s. Her task? To create a unique ready-to-wear line for the Tod’s woman. Her response? The perfect balance between feminine sophistication and the comfort level and sportiness that Tod’s is known for. Sharon Carvalho in an exclusive tete-a-tete with the vibrant woman discusses fashion and her vision for the brand.
How did the love for fashion begin?
When I was young, I wanted to become a sculptor or an architect. That was my dream. But it was at the age of 17, when I left my hometown, Bergamo, to go to the prestigious Istituto Marangoni to study fashion that I fell in love with. I had so much fun and all the lessons that I needed to learn to get to Tod’s, I learnt while at this school. With regards to work, my first experience was at 22 when I began working with Miuccia Prada to be the designer at Miu Miu. I ended up spending seven years there.
Where do you draw inspiration?
Architecture and Italian modern art of the fifties and sixties are definitely the main sources of inspiration for me. After that, comes travelling, friends, muses and the world around me. Every single detail is important to me.
How has your background and past experiences shaped you?
Everything I know, I learnt at Miu Miu. When you leave school, you have dreams but you don’t really know anything about the real world. At Miu Miu I dealt with suppliers, I researched fabrics and did so much more. Everyday was new and I learnt my trade there. It was hard to leave, but I had a feeling that after seven years, I wanted to venture out and see what else I could do. After that, I worked at Valentino and Gucci, then Moncler and Pinko.Working with Pinko was about accepting that I was at a stage in my life where I wanted to step away from the pure world of fashion and experiment with something new. I truly believe it was a necessary step in order for me to be fully ready for my Tod’s experience. In the end, all of my experiences were very intense and crucial to shaping both, my private and professional growth.
How do you deal with critics?
Finding the right solution that can be achieved in the quickest way is important. To be able to do this, you can’t be stressed or worried. So, how I deal with critics is that I try to stay calm and maintain control. That way I’m not stressed and am able to be productive and find a solution.
What is your vision for Tod’s?
I believe I have same vision that Mr Della Valle has for Tod’s and that is to always remain faithful to the philosophy and lifestyle of the brand. So, from the very beginning, I have tried to do just that. It has been a balancing act between my touch and Tod’s DNA, especially since it is such a timeless style. For instance, with the D Bag and the Gommino, I kept the iconic style but I added feminine and graphic detailing to it. Another core concept that I spend a lot of time on is researching special materials. It is very important for me to maintain the foundation and the roots of the brand. Where I come in is my focus on the lifestyle of women, the Tod’s women. For this, I design from the feet up. This helps me see the bigger picture and from there it is easier for me to design clothes and accessories that will go with it. This way, for me, the collection does not become over dressed or over complicated.
Have you ever faced a mental block in the creative process? If so, how do you push through it?
Honestly, I have never faced something like this. Due to all the various experiences I have gone through, I have learnt how to exercise my creativity in different manners.
What is your last minute routine before a show?
It isn’t anything special. For me, obtaining the best result possible is important and the way I achieve that is by staying with my team and concentrating collectively on the show.