Belfast Telegraph

Diego Della Valle: America has questionable taste

Tod's president Diego Della Valle decided to create shoes after becoming inspired by the bad taste he saw in America.

Della Valle's grandfather was a cobbler and his father worked hard to make the business successful. He took his son on trips abroad to learn about the business, and it was while in New York that Della Valle got an idea which would see his brand catapult into the big time.

"In Italy people still tried to be elegant at the weekend: a suit, tie and white shirt, especially on Sunday. In America it was completely different. The weekend was like a religion there, and people tried to be very, very relaxed. Sometimes it was not very good taste! But my idea was, why not make more relaxed shoes that are also elegant and chic?" he recalled.

He initially wanted to start his own line when he was just a boy, but eventually decided to study first. He quit university at 24, which was when J P Tod's was born.

The first pair of shoes he created were leather loafers.

"Before, shoes were very stiff, without any comfort, and we tried to change that completely. We tried to consider shoes like a pair of gloves. We think all the time about light, soft, comfortable, useful - something you can wear all day," he told British newspaper The Telegraph.

Eventually the company became known as Tod's and is now a celebrity favourite.

Anne Hathaway is fronting the campaign for the new Signature line, which features a monogram for the first time.

"She is a perfect ambassador for the modern taste and lifestyle," Della Valle said. "She's elegant, a star, but also very human.

"She's a really great girl. She's in fantastic shape at the moment, to play Catwoman."

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From Belfast Telegraph