Armani vs. Tod's - The battle to Save Italian Landmarks

Tue, 09/24/2013 - 10:00
Italian luxury brand Tod’s has come to the table with various offers to save some of Italy's national cultural landmarks. The famous shoemaker recently pledged 25 million Euro to restore the Colosseum and promised an additional 8 million Euro to save the La Scala opera house. Tod’s chief executive Diego della Valle said that he hoped other private businesses would soon follow suit to fund heritage sites that are suffering due to budget cuts and claimed that it is the duty of private business benefiting from Italy’s vast cultural heritage to step in during this time of need. Recently, he took specifically on Armani, who had criticized other Italian brands for not showing their collections during Milan Fashion Week, and said that he should “not waste time in useless attacks,” but rather “invest in the territory,” urging him to approach other sites in need of work, such as the 15th century Castello Sforzesco. On Monday, at the end of the latest Milan Fashion Week, Armani, who was speaking before his signature fashion show, shot back at Della Valle: “I restored Villa Necchi years ago for 3 billion Lire with my own money, not that of shareholders — do you understand?” pointing to the fact that the Colosseum is being restored with the help of the Tod’s Group, listed on the Milan Stock Exchange. Ironically, Tod’s has held presentations at the early 20th century Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan and its museum for years. “Della Valle has spoken a lot about the restoration of the Colosseum, but these are things best said in an undertone. He falls into the trap of doing things for his bags,” remarked Armani. “I am not interested in good or bad faith, I stick to the facts. We do many things silently here and abroad; we sponsor a children’s school that educates about art in New York, for example. I receive requests for financial contributions every day — from magazines too, ‘Why don’t you buy that table?’ Perhaps one day, when I will have the foundation, it will be easier to handle as others will manage it.” Last year Armani talked about creating a foundation as one of the possible options to ensure a future for his company. We think it would be great if they could just agree to disagree and, in the meantime, continue to contribute saving Italian landmarks in any possible way.