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Sergio Rossi is an Italian women’s footwear company that also produces a limited range of handbags and other accessories. The brand is renowned for its craftsmanship and feminine designs. The Sergio Rossi label was owned by the French Group Kering until it was sold to Italian buyout firm Investindustrial in December 2015. Riccardo Sciutto is the CEO of Sergio Rossi.
Sergio Rossi was born in 1935 in the town of San Mauro Pascoli, in the Romagna region of Italy. He inherited from his father, a shoemaker, the tools and the traditions of a great artisan. Sergio Rossi built his factory in San Mauro Pascoli in 1966, In the early years, Sergio Rossi worked through the winter making sandals that he would later sell his handmade designs on the beaches of Rimini and to boutiques in Bologna. One such model, the Opanca was one of the most popular, a simple and daring sandal in which the sole curved gently around the foot, blending with the upper part of the shoe. Two years later, in 1968 the first shoes bearing the Sergio Rossi signature were produced, marking the first official collection of the eponymous brand. According to Vogue, during the 1960s, the company, “quickly became synonymous with Italian quality and classic feminine designs.”
Sergio Rossi shoes became known for their use of geometrics and color. The brand grew in popularity in the 1970s and beyond, through collaborations with noted fashion designers, including Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, and Azzedine Alaïa. Sergio Rossi shoes became a mainstay at the Milan fashion shows. In 1980, the brand began expanding, the first boutique to bear his name opened in Ancona, and then boutiques opening in Turin, Florence, Rome, Brussels, New York City, Los Angeles, and London. The brand also opened a showroom in Milan in 1995.
In 1999, PPR Luxury Division, formerly known as Gucci Group, bought a 70% stake in the company for approximately $96 million. 6 years later, in 2005, PPR bought the remaining 30%, retaining full control of the Sergio Rossi brand. In 2015 the company was sold to Investindustrial, the private equity firm that also owns Aston Martin. Francesco Russo was the Creative Director of Sergio Rossi between 2008 and 2013. That year, Angelo Ruggeri became the company’s design director, holding the position until 2016. In 2016 Andrea Morante became company president and Riccardo Sciutto became Group CEO.
As of 2016 the brand controlled a retail network of 83 retail outlets worldwide, plus an e-commerce website. In April 2011, Sergio Rossi started to open several dedicated men’s stores in collaboration with Wallpaper*: Milan, designed by Antonino Cardillo, Casablanca and Tokyo. Since fall 2011 several of the brand’s stores have been redesigned with a new store concept developed in collaboration with Ilse Crawford.
Sergio Rossi shoes take a minimum of 110 different steps to create. The Wall Street Journal wrote of the process that, “building a shoe involves high-pressure nail guns, screws, heat-dried glues, sanding, painting, buffing, chiseling, and plenty of loud machinery. Leather and other materials are stretched around the lasts, then nailed, glued and molded in layers.”
In 2009, in a move to demonstrate that luxury goods and fashion can be combined with sustainability, Sergio Rossi launched the Eco Pump, a biodegradable fashion shoe made using Liquid Wood (derived from lignin) in the heel and sole, and leather uppers tanned using eco sensitive tanners. In 2015, Sergio Rossi partnered with Eco-Age to develop a Green Carpet Collection of environmentally sustainable wear designs.
The iconic product from Sergio Rossi is the Godiva pump. The unique shape is now a signature item of every Sergio Rossi collection, reinvented each season in various materials and colors. The “cachet” silhouette was created by Francesco Russo, for the wedding of Salma Hayek to François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering. Sergio Rossi also produces leather handbags, and in 2012 it launched its bridal collection of shoes.
Sergio Rossi’s early advertising campaigns were greatly inspired by the work of Helmut Newton, using low-angled shots to highlight the length of the legs and body, and focusing on the height and shape of the heel. In 2012, the company introduced its line with a short-film called Skin to Skin, in collaboration with director Luca Guadagnino.
Sergio Rossi shoes have long been a staple on the red carpet, worn by celebrities like Eva Longoria, Sharon Stone, Diane Kruger, Ludivine Sagnier, Anne Hathaway, Karolina Kurkova, Amanda Seyfried, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Naomi Campbell, Sarah Jessica Parker, Vanessa Hudgens, Halle Barry, and Eva Herzigova.
Various shoes from Sergio Rossi have appeared in the following artworks:
- Anita Ekberg wears a pair in la Dolce Vita from Federico Fellini, 1959
- Beyoncé Knowles wore a pair of Sergio Rossi’s Leather Gladiator Borderline Boots in her music video Run The World (Girls), 2011
- Silvana Mangano wears a pair in Conversation Piece (film) from Luchino Visconti, 1974
- The poster of High Heels (film) from Pedro Almodóvar features some Sergio Rossi shoes
- Sergio Rossi’s Cachet pump was featured in Madonna’s music video Give Me All Your Luvin'.
- Blair Waldorf wears a pair in Gossip Girl
- Bloomberg businessoffashion.com Kering Sells Shoemaker Sergio Rossi to End Years of Struggle December 9, 2015
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- "Les escarpins Sergio Rossi de Blair Waldorf font le style chic - Brandsonair.com". Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2014-06-09.