THIERRY RABOTIN The elegance of comfort
Revered by a fashion-forward femininity, the Italian footwear brand puts at the forefront stylistic and materials innovation, while still paying close attention to comfort It has turned comfort into its distinctive trait, while never neglecting the alluring power and the elegance of Italian style. Currently, the brand Thierry Rabotin – established thanks to the partnership between the namesake footwear designer, who passed away last August, Giovanna Ceolini and Karl Schlecht, is among the leading names in the field of comfortable shoes, entirely manufactured in Italy, conceived for dynamic, confident women who want to feel at ease wearing fashionable, fascinating creations. Andreas Schlecht and his brother Thomas, future leaders of Parabiago Collezioni, explained the secrets to the success of a company constantly on the rise, in whose production facility are assembled collections distributed worldwide.
Andreas Schlecht, what are the latest innovations for the next winter season? Thanks to three lines designed for contemporary women, the new collection for the upcoming cold season aims at strengthening key concepts such as comfort, dynamism and elegance. The main motifs for the TR1 line – that is, the sportier one, dedicated to a younger target – are London 70’s and Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie’ alter ego, Ed.): stars, glitter, paints combined with colour inserts in red, blue and green, are the distinctive traits of a variety of shoes and ankle boots featuring bold geometric patterns and soft elastic bands. On the other hand, the refined couture collection has been conceived in partnership with the US designer Nancy Osborne. The main source of inspiration was the circus and its wonderdful world. Each detail recalls its places and costumes: hand-painted horn heels, embroideries imitating the peacocks’ beautiful plumage, soft Nappa leathers and pony hides matched with innovative materials with an aluminium core. Last but not least, the Thierry Rabotin line focuses on the brand’s classic image while adding a contemporary touch: without putting aside the skilful use of elastic fabrics – so as to give life to comfortable, dynamic creations –, this collection tries out new paint colours, materials (like, for example, “domino” and “reale”, both featuring a peculiar texture) as well as processing techniques. Among the latest additions, a special mention goes to the debut of a soft suede enlivened with hand-painted, polka-dot motif.
Therefore, innovation affects tradition; at the same time, tradition can’t pass over innovation. When you are “labelled” as a “classic shoe”, it is difficult to overcome that barrier. Our classic models keep meeting with great success; nevertheless, we are striving to convince the clientele to purchase something different too. We have focused on the young TR1 line and the feedback has been really positive, as confirmed by the encouraging results achieved in London, at the FFANY exhibition in NYC and, later on, at Micam. We are proud of our craft techniques – the entire manufacturing cycle is carried out in Parabiago –, of our comfortable shoes and of the significant investments in the research for new materials. The designer Massimo Balbini, Rabotin’s assistant and heir, has kept alive Thierry’s style. The 80% of our production features the refined slip-lasting processing method: however, in order to further improve the article’s quality and to help it stand out on the market, we love to play with details, to challenge the rules and take on difficulties.
What are your main end markets? America, Russia, Germany and France are our main export destinations. China as well as Japan are showing interesting signs of growth. Next year we are going to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Parabiago Collezioni, even though the collaboration between my parents and Thierry Rabotin dates back to the end of the ‘80s. A successful story built on shared goals and great entrepreneurial skills, that has led to the development of a unique style and product portfolio, praised worldwide.