Walter Chiapponi was only able to show one runway show as creative director of Tod’s before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the world. His womenswear debut, staged in Milan last February, was critically-acclaimed and proof that his mission—to remake Tod’s ready-to-wear for a younger audience—seemed poised for success. And so it was a thrill to see Chiapponi return to the runway again, presenting another strong, cohesive collection for the heritage Italian label in Milan today.
Staged in Milan’s Contemporary Art Pavillion and opened and closed by supermodel Gigi Hadid, the Sping/Summer 2022 collection offered a compelling update on sportswear. Sheer anoraks were shrugged off the shoulder and sliced super-short, cinched at the waist with statement leather belts, or fashioned into cute day dresses. Elsewhere, a subtle ‘60s reference imbued the daywear, including trapeze and A-line dresses (there was a particularly chic iteration in brown leather). Handbags—petite and top-handled—were a mix of serious shades of tan and black as well as more punchy hues: yellow, turquoise, and bright red.
“Everything at Tod’s is firmly anchored around sportswear,” Chiapponi said in a post-show interview. “I certainly don’t think about red carpets. I just want to hybridize it with some stylish gentleness.” His self-awareness about the needs of the Tod’s customer will no doubt make his tenure a continued success. He has, after all, already began to court the attention of A-listers like Emma Stone and Amy Adams. Chiapponi did, after all, start his career under Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta, slowly building a foundational understanding of the kind of nonchalantly Italian elegance that Tod’s has, over its 101 years of existence, come to typify. “I’m following my emotions more, I’m less analytical,” he told Business of Fashion in February. “I’m not telling myself, ‘No, you can’t do that at Tod’s.’” There’s no denying it’s working.