Cool to be Coxy
STORY BY Sam Russell
Published: December 1, 2015
Look a little bit closer at our latest Truth Is Cool discovery to see what we mean. It’s more than lusty bags and visual stimuli at Coxy. My coffee date with the founder will give you more insight into exactly how big a heart fashion has...Without change, there can be no growth. Chiara Rodoni, founder of Coxy, proves just that.
Q-1 As a child, you used to conveniently “borrow” fashions discoveries from the closets of your fashion-savvy mother and uber-stylish grandmother. This may be the only time that I condone thievery. What other bits of wisdom did they share with you that have helped shaped your lusty career?
I learned a lot just by modeling them and observing the way they would style their outfits. They both were impeccable all the time. My Mom would dress up and wear make-up even when she was staying at home. “You must take care of yourself at all times,” she would say. She had a whole set of slippers and tutus in different colors just for the house life and her wardrobe was huge. My Grandmother had most of her dresses tailor made when she was younger. She would make some of them herself, saying that every outfit should fit the body like a glove and allow you to sinuously move in it. “You have to be able to ‘walk like a cat in it,’” she would say. They both believed that when you look good, you feel good and eventually that feeling will come forward in the way you carry yourself through life and interact with people. They taught me it’s not about fashion, it’s about style and love and respect for yourself.
Q-2 Fashion is a cut-throat arena full of unique personalities. Don’t get me wrong; some people you encounter will become lifelong friends. But others are just simply curious and will not scratch much deeper than the surface experience. How do you balance yourself after being stuck in a setting with an out-of-control ego or fashion diva that sucks the light from the room?
The fashion world has its positive and negative sides like anything in life, and I believe balance lies between them. Light cannot exist without darkness and vice versa. On one hand, like you said, there are those who are more superficial and think fashion has to do only with appearance and glamour. They constantly feel the need to show up and always feel challenged. They raise the competition and judge others. And at the end of the day they always feel overwhelmed, frustrated and insecure. But on the other hand, you have super talented creative geniuses. For them, fashion is about art, about telling a story, communicating feelings, creating a movement or a social revolution, and bringing awareness. For them, creating fashion is a passion that comes from deep within. It’s not about them, it’s about giving people the freedom and the opportunity to live a dream on their skin; a dream that also gives them confidence and power of expression.
I was lucky enough to be able to work with some of those geniuses, and I strive to be one of them. I like to call myself a Style designer rather than a fashion designer because “Fashion fades, but Style is eternal” (cit. YSL). I don’t want to create fashion, I want to create a timeless style. My mission is to guide people to get connected to their true beauty and teach them how they can communicate their amazing story through a powerful and one-of-a-kind style. Had I not worked with the “Divas,” I would never have understood how I could be different and unique.
Q-3 Coxy debuted in 2014 with rave reviews. Inspired by the female silhouette, the alluring curves of your designs cannot be denied. Where do you retail?
The only retail store right now is Coxy’s website http://www.itscoxy.com. That’s the only place where you can find the #CoxyBag. I chose to keep Coxy only online so that I could give people the opportunity to purchase high-end, 100% made-in-Italy handbags at a third of the price of luxury brands. My bags are manufactured by the same people that manufacture Fendi, Valentino, and other luxury brands. But my model is business to consumer. This way I can cut expenses while keeping the quality high. This allows me to offer great value to my customers at a better price.
Q-4 Going back in recent time, you have graced design houses like Ralph Lauren, Prada, Gucci and countless others with your creative input. How did this unique journey shape your already seasoned eye?
I feel so lucky and grateful for my career! I had had mentors that made the history of fashion and I was able to work with them one-on-one. What a blessing! Gianfranco Ferre and Tom Ford have been my favorites, as they both inspired me to think outside of the box and expand my creativity. They stirred me to interact with art, cinema, music and architecture in order to create something special and unique. They taught how to create a timeless style and how to shape a story that can communicate a powerful message.
Also, working for big fashion houses gave me the opportunity to meet amazing people and get to learn all the behind the scenes and the mechanisms of a brand. Pablo Picasso used to say “good artists copy, great artists steal,” and I must admit I stole a lot of precious inputs and business templates from the people I’ve worked with. They all know it and they are still supporting and helping me in my journey J.
Q-5 It’s a date night and you find yourself outside of the US carrying your trusted and true Coxy bag. My third eye sees a brick covered street and my ear hears a foreign language I am struggling to decipher. Where are we and why is this city so special to you?
That is definitely Paris and I am probably walking in Le Marais neighborhood! I’ve lived in Paris for four years, and I still feel at home every time I go there and I can’t help crying every time I leave it. Lights, romance and Joie de Vivre—not to say some of the most beautiful memories of my life! When I walk in Paris I feel happy and very sexy. So the #CoxyBag is perfect a perfect match.
Q-6 Yep! Just as I thought! You must be running out of room in your passport. Your social media pages are a plethora of travel and luxurious settings. Do you ever pinch yourself and question why the universe gave you so many vast resources to play with?
You caught me! It’s true, my passport is running out of space and traveling is my drug. I love exploring new countries, facing different cultures, meeting new people, and hearing their stories. It gives me a lot of inspiration! I started traveling with my parents around the world when I was a baby. I love flying and I feel excited every time I have to catch a plane. And like kids, I always ask for a window seat. My Dad had a huge world map that would take up an entire wall in his office. He would put a red pin on every place he had visited. The 5 continents had been covered from North to South and East to West, and as a 5-year-old I remember telling him, “One day I will beat your record!” I haven’t yet, but I’m working on it! I guess the Universe meant to tell me: “Life is absolutely wonderful. Explore, play like a kid, make a difference and enjoy every single second of it.” I am following the advice.
Q-7 Earlier this year, you donated a gorgeous bag to my traveling charity, Giving Closet. It truly takes a village to make change, and the domestic abuse survivor who was surprised with this image makeover in Austin, Texas is now walking around town with an extra kick in her step. Did you know that your creative talents would transcend beyond the elite? There is another charity that clearly speaks to you. Tell our readers about Look Good Feel Better.
It’s so good to hear that! Thinking about that woman in Austin feeling beautiful and empowered is such a rewarding feeling! Coxy is not about me. It’s about people, it’s about senses, it’s about awareness, it’s about sharing stories that inspire people, and it’s about authenticity. My tagline is “Be everything that is you.” That is why I decided to mix fashion and films. Films are to tell a story and inspire. Fashion products are nothing but an anchor of the feelings and emotions that the story gives you, so that you can carry them on you.
Ever since I was a kid, my Mom always told me, “Everything you do in life, do it with love.” She passed away three years ago and I miss her every day of my life. When she was undergoing chemotherapy treatments, I used to put healing music in her ears and read her stories. I shaved her hair when she started loosing it and then took her to choose wigs. Trying the different ones on myself and putting on a show in the wig store would make her laugh. I took her to beauty and makeup classes and special healing programs dedicated to women with cancer. I massaged her body with essential oils and did her nails and makeup, even when she was stuck in a bed and couldn’t get up anymore because of her unbearable pain. I knew that the disease was burning her from the inside. But I also knew that everything I was doing was making her feel happy, beautiful and loved.
Coxy wouldn’t exist today without the help of my Mom. She was my greatest fan. She taught me to put love in everything I do, to believe in myself and pursue my passion and my dreams. Her life and her death have been the most wonderful gifts of love I’ve ever had. And now, I want to give this love back.
Look Good Feel Better (www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org) is an organization that benefits women diagnosed with cancer by helping them to re-conquer their lives, their power and their beauty, both during and after their illness. I chose to partner with them because I experienced the greatness of their workshops with my Mom. Believe it or not, feeling beautiful, empowered, and grateful is more healing than any kind of medicine!
photo credit: Stefania Rosini
Have a topic you want covered? Let us know.