A war of words has marked the traditionally quieter menswear shows in Milan with some unusual drama.
Giorgio Armani recently criticized Prada and Dolce & Gabbana for showing "clownish styles that men don't wear," blaming such "ridiculous" fashion on the reliance of design houses on bank funding -- an only slightly veiled dig at Prada for introducing its IPO.
WWD reports that Diego Della Valle (pictured here, at left), CEO of Prada's new parent company, Tod's, did not take the remarks lightly, firing back to defend the transaction, blaming Armani's age for his candor.
“That kind of attack does not make any sense, and it was the least opportune moment,” said Della Valle of Armani’s comments. “[Prada’s listing] was a beautiful operation, with global visibility.”
As the luxury market globalizes under conglomerates like LVMH, PPR, and Tod's -- which counts Prada, Hogan, Fay, and Roger Vivier in its repertoire -- some seem concerned for the national identity of individual houses.
Counteracting concerns that the Italian Prada would lose its heritage owned by the French company, Della Valle referenced investments Tod's has made in the preservation of the Coliseum in Rome, and other Italian cultural landmarks. “Rather than criticizing Prada’s strategies, Armani should do the same thing, invest in the territory, as I did in Rome," said Della Valle. "In a moment of crisis, it’s important to be part of a team."