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Tod’s Modern Master

Alessandra Facchinetti, creative director of Tod’s.

By Jackie Cooperman

Alessandra Facchinetti is inaugurating her second season as Tod’s creative director of women’s collections by celebrating modern artisans and the power of transformation. It’s a theme that fits Facchinetti’s own trajectory, from studying art, sculpture and architecture at Milan’s prestigious Istituto Marangoni to designing ready-to-wear and haute-couture collections for Prada, Gucci, Moncler and Valentino. Following Tom Ford at Gucci and Valentino himself at his eponymous house, Facchinetti, 42, found herself having to live up to almost impossible expectations. ”My experiences at Gucci and Valentino were very different,” Facchinetti says. “But they both were very important in deepening my knowledge of materials, as both share an appreciation of precious and unusual materials.” Now, at Tod’s, she’s found her groove, earning rave reviews from the often tough-to-please fashion press and imbuing her collections with her lifelong love of Italian vintage and contemporary design.

A look from the Fall/Winter collection.

Known for its luxurious handbags and iconic Gommino shoes, Tod’s tapped Facchinetti to help the brand move beyond accessories. Facchinetti is doing just that, updating classic looks (giving the Gommino a new metal buckle, for example) and inventing a slew of new ones. “I loved the fact that I was able to take the styles and details of the shoes and handbags to create clothing,” she says. “I was able to establish a whole new world of casual and sophisticated luxury.”

Facchinetti brings a modern edge to Tod’s.

Under her direction, Tod’s renowned artisans have created delicate, nearly lacquered leathers for the ready-to-wear collection. Mixing buttery leather with jacquard, wool, mink and cashmere, Facchinetti has invented a wardrobe that exudes sophistication and sporty affluence: supple peacoats, leather skirts, turtlenecks with removable fur collars, rimmed hats and leather bracelets.

Looks from the Fall/Winter collection, here and below.

The daughter of Roby Facchinetti, lead singer and keyboard player of Italian pop band Pooh, Facchinetti radiates glamour but is a self-described homebody. When she was younger, she says, she dreamt of being a sculptor. “Art has always influenced my work and is an extraordinary point of reference for me,” she explains. Her Milan apartment is a testament to this, decorated with vintage finds, old photographs and floral arrangements. She also gets inspiration from the treasures she finds at Nilufar, Milan’s eminent dealer of 20th- century furniture and carpets.

In fact, carpets play a key role in some of this season’s bags, with tapestry-style geometric patterns and carpet fabric complementing luscious leather.

The merging of high-end fabrics and leather in its many permutations—soft matte ponyskin, split suede, calfskin and goat— is central to Facchinetti’s vision. She’s found ways to make leather effortless yet unexpected, screenprinting it with animal patterns and giving shoes and boots a quasi-mirrored finish. Above all, she says, the collection is a reflection of essential Italian style mixed with a distinctly contemporary ethos. In Facchinetti’s words, the look is “incredibly comfortable and modern.”

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