After accepting an invitation from Tod’s chairman Diego Della Valle to visit “just for pasta, not for work,” designer Alber Elbaz discovered something wonderful. “Behind the concrete wall of their headquarters, I met a beautiful group of artists and artisans,” he remembers. “They were working hard with their hands and their hearts. The beauty was to see that Tod’s is one big family.” Elbaz would eventually sign on to design a capsule collection for the Italian heritage brand, which debuts today in Paris. It will officially launch online and in stores on July 15 under the umbrella of the collaborative Tod’s Factory project. He’s calling it Tod’s Happy Moments by Alber Elbaz, happy being the feeling you get while wearing Tod’s classic driving shoes in various scenarios. “I thought, What would be the right shoe to make you run to your office so that you are never late?” the designer says. “So I thought, Happy not to be late! As we know, Anna [Wintour] always likes to be on time. She was actually on my mind.” Also on his mind were happy, bright metallic bags and T-shirts, which also form part of the collection and feature Elbaz’s cheery signature sketches. But mainly, the shoes were the starting point for Elbaz—he’s incorporated more color, the Tod’s logo, and a platform sole in these new iterations.
“Talking about driving shoes,” Elbaz says, “when you come to Paris, where I live, there are a lot of roads that are saturated because now, there are so many roads for pedestrians only.” He adds, “So maybe shoes are the new cars—that’s how I imagined this project. I also wanted to change the shoe’s sole without changing the soul of Tod’s.” Elbaz clearly had fun with this project, which is his first for a major European fashion house since he left his position as creative director at Lanvin in 2015. He says that it’s difficult for him to choose a favorite piece from this collection, just as “asking a mother who is her favorite kid is always a hard one. I think it’s really about the sneaker,” Elbaz explains when asked about the core product in the capsule. “The sneaker is the right product for today because it’s a world of rapidity and it liberates women. That’s probably why sneakers are becoming the new It bag.” He adds, “I tried with this collaboration to create an Instagram moment and to create a buzz, but it was more about finding the mix between the ideas and the desires of people right now. I don’t design for the markets, I design for people.”
Above, a first look at Tod’s Happy Moments by Alber Elbaz.