AZ Factory to Showcase Fledgling Designer During Paris Couture Week – WWD

Paris — AZ Factory doubles down on its commitment to supporting emerging talent by hosting an event during Paris Couture Week as a showcase for the work of Tennessee Tollesson, who recently graduated from fashion school and is taking her first steps in the industry Let

After the untimely death of its founder Alber Elbaz in 2021, AZ Factory, which has shifted to a platform for collaborations with guest creatives (“amigos”), will launch a “Theatrical Show” featuring 12 looks on January 23rd. We plan to announce what we claim as “. Inspired by the concept of “a superheroine and her extraordinary powers,” the home was revealed exclusively to her WWD by Tolleson.

Richemont Executive Mauro Grimaldi met the French designer at the Graduates’ Show at the Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD) in November 2021. Tolleson won both the Eyes On His Talent Award and the Bachelor Bongenie Award for his acid pop sharp, fantastical silhouettes. color and faux fur.

Grimaldi said he was impressed with Torreson’s technical skill and unique aesthetic, as well as his storytelling skills rooted in women’s and queer empowerment, inclusivity, and joy.

“His vision for fashion and society was very clear and really up-to-date. At the same time, he had a great, very emotional way of communicating,” he recalls. “When I meet a designer with technical skills, very sharp aesthetics, strong storytelling, and the ability to tell it, in my vision, this designer has most of the ingredients that make him or her successful. I have.”

With strong ties to the drug community, Thoreson embodies AZ Factory’s “smart fashion that cares” ethos.

“I thought the idea of ​​this heroine really resonated with one of the pillars of Albert’s philosophy: the idea that clothing can provide a kind of protection from the outside world,” Grimaldi said. “I like this idea of ​​a collection of her 12 looks, each with a superpower, as a kind of extension of this idea.”

Designs are custom-ordered and fitted at the AZ Factory atelier at the Fondation Cartier in Paris.

“It will serve as a true couture experience for a new generation, perhaps people who today are leaning towards streetwear and a different approach to fashion,” Grimaldi said. Become.”

As reported, AZ Factory plans six presentations per year with guest creatives. While couture week is reserved only for emerging talent, the ready-to-wear show is for more established designers with the potential to become permanent, such as Lutz Huelle, who brought her expertise to the spring 2023 collection. It’s time to announce a collaboration with

The brand will announce confirmed or internal projects on its pre-collection schedule, and repeat collaborations from 2022 are scheduled for May or June next year. Also included were Magugu, Ester Manas, Cyril Bourez, Sheltersuit, Italian DJ collective Club Domani.

After hosting its first pop-up store in Paris during last summer’s men’s and haute couture fashion week, Grimaldi is considering another temporary space for 2023, but the idea of ​​a permanent flagship store for the brand has remained unchanged. Excluded. AZ Factory partners with about 50 retailers worldwide, including Selfridges, Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, Printemps and IT.

“We’re not looking for a 200-door distribution. We’re growing step by step with the right people,” he said. “We are not interested in creating a gigantic business with no limits, but we are serious about protecting and nurturing the designers who need to be protected, regardless of what stage they are at. .”

Grimaldi, who elaborated on why he works with “absolute beginners” like Blaise and Torreson, said his goal is to build a network of talent around its parent company, Compagnie Financière Richemont.

“Though the projects we present in Couture are not directly focused on their commercial potential, they represent Richemont’s commitment to supporting the next generation of designers,” said Fashion & Chloé, Cartier. , an accessory maison of a luxury conglomerate that owns brands such as Alaia.

“We are looking for someone who could become a permanent collaboration for the group in a variety of ways, even if it starts with a one-off collaboration. No, and at some point, along with some of them, we may decide to support them as a group and invest in their own brands,” he explained.

“Certainly we would never choose a designer who knew from the start that there would be no space for a second or permanent episode,” he added. “The original idea for AZ Factory was to build a solid, unconventional relationship between one of the largest conglomerates and independent designers.”

While fashion awards have grown in size and stature in recent years, AZ Factory’s platform puts recent graduates directly into luxury groups with full access to creative and product development teams, as well as marketing and communications resources. .

“This is the real beauty. We offer opportunities to talented people even before they are ready from a structural point of view,” said Grimaldi. That means Torreson has yet to find his own brand. After his stint at Chloé, he is now an intern at Paco His Rabanne.

“We offer them the possibility of realizing their childhood dreams. At the same time, we seek to offer them the first schemes for building these dreams into a true collection,” says Grimaldi. “On the one hand, what you get out of it is that it has the potential to create a dialogue with designers who could be future industry leaders.”

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