On Monday 25 October, at Tod's Boutique in the Burjuman Center, Dubai, Tod's presented "An Italian Dream," an art video project in cooperation with Milan's Teatro alla Scala. For the occasion, Tod's craftsmen were present to demonstrate the craftmanship involved in making Tod's products - the same concepts that were shown in the video.
The project represents a world first in many ways, because it was the first time that Teatro alla Scala had partnered with a fashion brand in this way. Tod's and La Scala have several features in common. Both have a unique heritage of artistic skills, both are Italian and are committed to preserving the traditional skills and quality that hallmark the finest Italian-made products. All sets and costumes created by La Scala's workshops are almost entirely hand-made, and likewise all bags and shoes manufactured by Tod's have been entirely hand-made for three generations.
In "An Italian Dream," thirteen ballet dancers from the La Scala ballet interpret the many steps involved in making a Tod's shoe. In fact, each product is a tour de force of craftsmanship, with 100 stages of work, 35 pieces of leather, and techniques directly derived from ancient saddlery techniques. Hide is carefully selected, pieces are hand cut, and then progressively sewn together. The process mirrors the painstaking work involved in an opera production, in which master carpenters, stage designers and painters, and the wardrobe department have to work together to create the thousand-odd new costumes required each season, along with the adaptation of another 1,500 existing costumes.
The film was directed by Matthias Zentner, while the thirteen dancers performed choreography by Gianluca Schiavoni. The set was Teatro alla Scala's massive stage, and it also included the theatre's auditorium, boxes, balconies and aisles, in order to give expression, using the media of ballet, to the activity that goes on at Tod's workshops. All in all, this is an interesting method of communicating the unique combination of art and industry at a company such as Tod's,. and the film becomes a tribute to two Italian institutions sharing a common vision of maintaining absolute quality and unrivalled creativity.
The project is part of Tod's global support for the arts, which includes institutions such as the Whitechapel Gallery in London, PAC in Milan, and MOCA in Los Angeles. At La Scala, Tod's have contributed to covering the theatre's production costs for a complete season.
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