Feb 26, 2013

The luxury of Tod's

To be honest I am not an avid follower of all things stereotypically categorised as 'luxury brands', especially the ones that are lagging in the directional front and revolve around preaching their so-called rich history, heritage and craftsmanship. But there's no denying of Tod's commercial role in today's luxury market: successfully selling expensive driving shoes, propelling this footwear style into popularity among young men (and women) resulting in the infiltration of cheaper high-street versions into the market. But of course no other brands (except Car shoes, maybe) can instill people's trust in these kinds of shoes like Tod's does. How do they do that?

The answer lies in the "luxury" branding, as what I learned from my recent visit to Milan.

Firstly Villa Nechi Campiglio, constructed in the 1930's has been used as the recurrent venue for Tod's showcase. Located at via Mozart, just few blocks away from the grand Duomo is this dazzlingly beautiful building, discreetly tucked away from the chaos of Milan. The villa itself is an epitome of grandeur, appropriate for Tod's globally-renowned status. Outside a sizable garden with a pool and tennis court welcomed us, while the interior is adorned with beautiful antique furniture and tapestry.

Secondly, the items on show are equally luxurious, with classic shapes given an update in texture and colour way. So does the ready-to-wear on display: classic men's iconic styles replete with hidden sartorial details, all noticeable only by inspecting and touching the clothes in person. The design is discrete - a proof that good things don't necessarily need to shout for attention.

Last but not least, the 'craftsmanship' card was well played in the form of the presence of an artisan all the way from the marche who gave us a little demonstration of crafting a Tod's shoe. I felt particularly attracted by the gentle strokes on the shoes (borderline sensual). In addition Tod's also boasted on their celebrity-centric prowess with the display of an impressive collection of shoe lasts made specifically for A-listers like Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford and Richard Gere...

I personally like Tod's shoes but am wary of its significant connection with mass, commercial luxury. I'm taking a step back and am well satisfied seeing a well-clothed gentleman donning a pair of Tod's shoes instead...

Words and images by Hafidzudin Zainal

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