Milan, April 29 : The second edition of Bata Fashion Weekend (BFW) 2018 celebrated young designers' artistic vision in the footwear segment here in the fashion capital and also emphasised on the 'sound of style' -- the core theme of the 85-year-old Swiss brand.
The second day (Saturday) of the fashion event started off with Charles Pignal, the Group Heritage Director at Bata Group, taking the stage and announcing their plans for the night.
"We are celebrating our theme Sound of Style.
It is because music is the very inspiration of art form, for creativity, which is so important to our footwear business in creating and developing our product," Pignal said.
He also informed the audience that Bata heritage is focused on identifying iconic products from the company's vast archive, which they are launching soon to connect with some "cool" customers.
This was followed by elegant fashion shows, choreographed around "The Sound of Style" - the theme of this year's event.
The shoe company also introduced the new face for their brand - the popular Czech singer Lenny Filipova.
For one year, Lenny will perform at various Bata events and take an active part in the global campaign 'Me (and) Comfortable With It'.
"I am honoured to be a part of this project.
Female empowerment is the main message of this campaign and something I feel strongly about and hopefully, I too can contribute with my own craft.
"Music has the power to reach out to all parts of the world and our main focus is to tell women everywhere how important it is to be yourselves.
No dream is too big. You are your only enemy, the only one holding you back," said Lenny.
Later, Alexis Nasard, Chief Executive Officer at Bata, hit the stage to make some announcements about the company: "Two years ago, we had made two affirmations as a company.
The first one was that the product is the centre of everything that we do. With the world that keeps changing and changing ever more rapidly with technology...with communication, it is very easy to get confused and to get lost.
"We sell shoes and the shoe is a product and we are committed..and we will always be committed to it."
"The second declaration was that we reject the notion that comfort and style are mutually exclusive and that is why technology-enabled innovation behind comfort is a fundamental pillar of our product strategy.
"Related to this particular aspect, there are few of our product initiatives that we have come up with.
"Red Label shoe collection is our global fast fashion collection that we have done in collaboration with Aldo group in Canada.
It is already in 20 countries and going to expand to more (countries)."
B-Flex collection will hit the stores in a few months.
"The third one is Bata Heritage line and this is going to be our global collection. Last but not least, we have tied up with one of the leading institutes in Italy for a collection dedicated to autism."
There was also an exhibition that had some of the upcoming exclusive Bata collections featuring the global pre-launch of B-Flex.
The high point of the night was the Bata Young Designers Challenge that showcased an exclusive capsule collection, handcrafted by students of leading fashion schools and embellished with Bohemian crystal components.
Tereza Kanyzova, who was one of the felicitated students, showcased her 'Amulet' line.
"The 'Amulet' shoes are luxurious elegant slippers.
The concept is based on a research of the history of Czech jewellery, reaching from fragments of ancient amulets to contemporary pieces.
"The designer works with contrast between matte suede, synthetic net and glossy crystals. Nets are the main theme of the whole collection that focuses on various methods of tying and knotting them together," she said.
With the platform, Bata provides the chance to talented students of international institutes to express their personal style and learn how to transform fashion art - their own work of fine art - into ready-to-wear products.
Thomas Archer Bata, Chief Marketing Officer, said: "We are happy to introduce a second edition of Young Designers Challenge, which is an example of creativity, craftsmanship and talent."
Following the successful debut of the initiative last year, Bata decided to extend the competition with Politecnico Calzaturiero from Padova to Prague's already established Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (UMPRUM).
The theme of this year's contest was elegant shoes with crystal components from the iconic Czech crystal maker Preciosa.
In addition, the prestigious high-end Italian shoe manufacturer Kalliste supported the production of shoes.
(Nivedita is in Milan on the invitation of Bata Fashion Weekend organisers.
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)