The Artistry of RODO Is A Timeless Legacy

From wicker bags to footwear, the 68-year journey of RODO isn’t just a chronicle of beautiful objects; it’s a celebration of passion and creativity


In the quaint town of Lastra a Signa, a story unfolded in the late 1950s, giving birth to a brand that was destined to embody luxury and impeccable craftsmanship — RODO. Founded by the visionary Romualdo Dori, RODO began as a small family-run workshop driven by a passion for handcrafted wicker handbags. The maiden creation, a chic wicker basket adorned with gold-plated metal trim, marked the genesis of a fascinating journey.

Venturing from the commune with skilled craftsmanship, RODO’s trajectory led to Florence, where a manufacturing company was established. The allure of Romualdo’s reached beyond local boundaries, propelling the brand to the Marche region in the late 1960s, where a new factory in Mogliano laid the foundation for future successes.

The 1970s marked a significant turning point for the brand, as Romualdo’s sons, Gianni and Maurizio, took the helm — ushering in a new era with RODO’s footwear. Even purses, clutches and evening handbags emerged as precious caskets with sculptural shapes, garnering the affection of celebrities and royalty alike. Meticulously crafted from sumptuous leather, luxurious fabrics and refined metals, each piece bore the unmistakable imprint of RODO’s dedication to both quality and design.


In conversation with Gianni Dori, CEO of RODO:

In an exclusive interview with BAZAAR Malaysia, Gianni Dori, the CEO of RODO, paints a vivid picture of the brand’s journey, where fashion transcends mere creation to become a unique work of art.

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Reflecting on his early foray into the world of fashion, Gianni fondly recalls his initiation at a young age to assist his father. He then discovered a genuine passion for the exquisite handmade bags and shoes that became synonymous with RODO. Growing up in the Dori family home, which resembled a museum adorned with captivating works of art, Gianni emphasizes how RODO has always been immersed in beauty.

“Fashion shares many similarities with art. The realms of sculpture and painting can be likened to the work of a designer.,” Gianni muses. In his contemplation, he draws a compelling comparison between iconic artists such as Michelangelo and Picasso to the realm of great designers, emphasizing the direct translation of artistic intrigue into the world of fashion for the Dori family.


In his role as the second-generation leader of RODO, Gianni offers a glimpse into the dynamic evolution of the family-owned business and presents a unique blend of tradition and modernity. With his brother assuming the role of creative director and the third generation, featuring his son Giorgio and niece Martina, taking on integral roles, the brand has seamlessly passed through the hands of family members.

The journey from a modest, family-run workshop to the globally recognized Maison it is today wasn’t without its share of challenges. Gianni candidly acknowledges, “It’s very difficult to find young people who are willing to come into a factory and learn how to craft beautiful objects of art in Italy.” Despite these hurdles, the brand’s unwavering passion has persevered, allowing RODO to consistently create unique works of art for nearly seven decades.


RODO Fall/Winter 2023 – New Paris Bag and new Debra 110 in crocodile print.

For RODO, its commitment to quality is reflected in its dedication to educating and nurturing generations of craftsmen who uphold the brand’s exacting standards. Gianni emphatically asserts, “Our entire philosophy revolves around the intertwining of design and quality.”

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With a steadfast focus on exclusivity, RODO has become the preferred choice for discerning clientele, including esteemed patrons like the royal family. Gianni underscores the significance, saying, “It’s a genuine honour that a company with a legacy spanning centuries has earned a prestigious presence across the globe, not just in Asia.” Being a niche brand, RODO takes pride in supplying the royal family and maintaining exclusivity for 44 years. Gianni emphasizes the importance of after-sales service, even offering repairs free of charge within four to five years.

RODO stands apart by deliberately steering away from industrial production. Gianni makes a clear distinction, asserting, “We are not an industrial product. It’s not an industrial brand.” The emphasis on manual craftsmanship infuses each piece with a distinctive character, transforming them into unique creations available in limited quantities worldwide. In navigating the delicate equilibrium between price and quality, RODO ensures that exclusivity remains a defining hallmark of its products.


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Turning his gaze towards the future, Gianni unveils ambitious plans to bolster RODO’s presence in stores, with a special focus on expanding in China. The brand envisions strategic collaborations with Korean celebrities, aiming to add another layer of global recognition to its illustrious name.

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Despite his familiarity with numbers and marketing, Gianni appreciates the deeply rooted artistic sensibilities within the family. He reveals, “In our family of five members, every one of us possesses an artistic side.” While he takes the lead in guiding the design team and contributing to the creative process, Gianni also emphasizes the significance of maintaining an artistic aspect in seemingly unrelated endeavours, such as cooking.

Outside the bustling realm of the fashion world, Gianni discovers solace in the calming embrace of sailing and a profound connection with nature. Emphasizing the significance of maintaining this link, he notes, “It has always been very important to us to maintain this contact with nature.” This connection, reminiscent of the careful selection of ingredients in cooking, serves as a tribute to the holistic approach that extends beyond the confines of the fashion industry.