|Francesco Russo, Christophe Mélard|
Sergio Rossi is an Italian women’s footwear specialist company that also produces a limited range of men’s shoes, 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 2015. Francesco Russo has been its Creative Director since October 2008. Christophe Mélard was appointed President and CEO of Sergio Rossi in May 2009 and left in 2014.
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, and the company still produces there until this day. In the early years, Sergio Rossi worked through the winter making sandals that he would later sell 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.
The brand grew in popularity in the 1970s and beyond, through collaborations with noted fashion designers, including Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, & Azzedine Alaïa. Sergio Rossi shoes became a mainstay at the Milan fashion shows. 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 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, Los Angeles, and London. The brand also opened a showroom in Milan in 1995.
Francesco Russo has been the Creative Director of Sergio Rossi since October 2008. Trained at Milan’s Marangoni Institute, Francesco has created shoes for Miu Miu and Costume National, and began working with Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent in 2000. Christophe Mélard was appointed President and CEO of Sergio Rossi in May 2009.
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.
Today the brand controls a retail network of 79 retail outlets worldwide, plus an e-commerce website in the United States. 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.
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. Part of the proceeds from its sale are being given to GoodPlanet.org.
The iconic product from Sergio Rossi is the Cachet pump. The silhouette was created by Francesco Russo, the current creative director for the wedding of Salma Hayek to Francois Henri-Pinault, CEO of Kering. The unique shape is now a signature item of every Sergio Rossi collection, reinvented each season in various materials and colors.
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. The brand is also a favorite among fashion editors Anna Dello Russo and Carine Roitfield.
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
- (French)Clais, Anne-Marie (2008), Assouline, ed., Sergio Rossi (in French), p. 73, ISBN 978-2759401277
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- (French) « Sergio Rossi est un créateur de chaussures italien, un vrai chausseur à l'ancienne. » sur Modefix
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