MILAN, Italy — Alber Elbaz is teaming up with Tod’s as part of the Italian luxury brand’s Factory project, said Tod's Group president and majority shareholder Diego Della Valle, at a lunch yesterday. The initiative, named after the New York art studio opened by Andy Warhol in the 1960s, consists of capsule collections created with leading designers and released throughout the year in a bid to keep pace with a fast-moving fashion market that is hungry for newness, reverse falling sales and rejuvenate the Tod’s brand.
Elbaz’s collection for Tod’s will be unveiled later this spring, though little else is known about the partnership. The designer has been inactive since he exited Lanvin in 2015 after turning the once-dusty label into a star brand globally known for its impeccably chic cocktail dresses.
“Once, I had to present products to the press, hope they would write about it and that customers would rush to the shop after reading. Now I can target customers directly, matching product and communication,” said Della Valle.
The strategy is reminiscent of fellow Italian brand Moncler’s Instagram-friendly Genius project. Built around a series of high-profile designer collaborations, the strategy boosted awareness and traffic, both online and off, for the luxury outwear brand in 2018, said Moncler president, chief executive and primary shareholder Remo Ruffini.
The Tod’s Factory project launched in the autumn with a capsule collection designed by industry veteran Alessandro Dell'Acqua and will include a 14,000-square-foot Tod’s Factory store on Milan's Via Montenapoleone, which Della Valle described as “shops within a shop."
Tod’s, which is best known for its Gommino shoes and leather accessories, is in the midst of a challenging turnaround that has yet to bear fruit after five straight years of declining sales. In March, the company reported a 26 percent drop in 2018 profit, with full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) falling to €118.3 million, hit by a sharp increase in spending on marketing and design.