How Diego Della Valle made the small factory from which he inherited one of the most important groups in luxury.
Diego Della Valle, An Italian History
“This is my story. Even today, I need to touch the leather.” Diego Della Valle’s words resonated with his family history.
What we know Tod’s today as a flourishing group, there was a time when the house was only a modest family business, from the Marche region, in central-eastern Italy. Indeed, it is to Diego Della Valle’s grandfather that we owe the outline of what Tod’s is today. It’s history was written in the 1920s.
Diego Della Valle is an Italian story but first there was Filippo Della Valle. The grandfather of the iconic CEO of Tod’s founded a shop in 1920 where he operated as a cobbler. A small shoemaker therefore who, in 1940, underwent a radical transformation.
This is where Diego Della Valle’s father, Dorino, transformed the small shop into a factory. It is this factory which became that of the Tod’s house, since 1978. Because here is the story of Diego Della Valle.
After studying law in Bologna, he interrupted his studies and asked his father to join the family business. His father accepted. And he who already made shoes for prestigious houses, sent his son to New York to canvass new buyers.
So in 1975, Diego Della Valle, flew to New York, the suitcases full of samples of the shoes worked by his father. With the audacity and charisma we know today, he convinced Calvin Klein, and even Azzedine Alaïa to entrust their shoes to the company.
It was also during one of these trips that he had the idea of the mythical moccasin Gommino.
In 1978, therefore, he succeeded the head of the family business, and gave it the name of JP Tod’s. For a long time it was rumored that this name, Tod’s, was found in a Boston directory. But Diego Della Valle has long denied. In this name, Tod’s, there is his will to find an Anglo-American name, easy to pronounce by all!
In 1997, Tod’s abandoned JP and became the Tod’s group. A group that has not abandoned the heart of its luxury: a Made In Italy production. A production carried out in the family factory in Casette d’Ete.
The iconic CEO of Tod’s defends craftsmanship, whatever it is. In particular after having created the first luxury sneakers under his new house Hogan.
In 2001, he revived the preciousness hitherto asleep of the one who, in particular, put on the Queen of England for his coronation. Tod’s bought the Roger Vivier house.
In 2006, it was the unparalleled extravagance of the fashion house Schiaparelli that he set out to awaken! He bought the house, and, in view of the first couture collection produced by Bertrand Guyon , in 2017. It works!
Diego Dela Valle, Luxury And Casual Made In Italy
“I prefer quality to luxury. Luxury can get bad when it’s too much. You must have the perfect blend of good taste and charm. And that’s how we recognize the Tod’s style.”
Tod’s style, Casual Chic
It was during his travels across the United States that the iconic CEO of Tod’s defined the essence of the Tod’s style. A casual chic style directly inspired by the East Coast of the United States.
But coupled with Made In Italy, this style gains in luxury! By focusing on the exceptional quality developed over centuries by Italian artisans, Tod’s aims for a timeless style. A style that has become the icon of Dolce Vita.
Bernard Arnault likes to say it: “Diego is the very example of the entrepreneur who draws his inspiration from the Italian craft tradition. Tod’s creativity and success owe him a lot. As a loyal member of the LVMH board of directors, he brings all his talent and experience to it. “
An urban line where comfort and elegance mingle around collections which, although introduced each season, carry within them an eternal dimension. It must be said that the flagship example of Tod’s style, the Gommino, says all about this elegance without season.
Gommino, Tod’s Style Icon
The Gommino, Diego Della Valle had the idea in the 70s. He was indeed 24 years old when he attended a car rally in the United States. There, his aesthetic eye noticed the shoes worn by the pilots. A shoe whose sole, studded with rubber studs, prevents skidding on the pedals.
Both chic and sporty, it is the design of this shoe that will inspire one of the most iconic shoes of our time.
The Tod’s moccasin was thus born. With its 133 studs and its high-end leather, it is the embodiment of Diego Della Valle’s ambition for the Tod’s house. Their manufacture is patented. The combination of rubber – then considered cheap and downgraded – with the fine leather that Diego Della Valle used for the shoe produced what he calls “a pair of gloves for the feet. “
But now, the Gommino does not find its audience. And this is where the CEO of Tod’s will play with all his talent. It transforms the essay around a marketing coup that made School. Since in the 80s, Diego Della Valle will send pairs of Gommino moccasins to the icons of the time.
Starting with the legendary Fiat boss, Giovanni Agnelli. Very quickly, we see these Gommino at the feet of Audrey Hepburn, Steve McQueen, the Kennedy. And slipped into those of Princess Diana, the Gommino will reached heights of desirability.
A fusion of Italian and Anglo-American style that still embodies a shoe myth today. A shoe that in turn distills the myth of the Dolce Vita.