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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 an artisan. Rossi built his factory in San Mauro Pascoli in 1966, In the early years, he 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, marking the first official collection of the 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 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 the brand between 2008 and 2013 when Angelo Ruggeri became the design director, holding the position until 2016. In 2016 Andrea Morante became company president and Riccardo Sciutto became Group CEO.
In April 2016 the brand started the relaunch with a new marketing and communication strategy paying a great attention to the digital sphere. The new website launched in February 2017 and the communication projects created for the brand social media are the first signs of the new strategy. The launch of the sr1 collection in 2017, was the first step of a new beginning for the Company, taking inspiration from the Sergio Rossi historical archive. sr1 symbolizes of the rebirth, sr represents the respect and the devotion to the history and to the brand heritage, 1 stands for the new beginning. In 2017 the image of the brand undertakes an important refresh, the new packaging and the new store concept embody the distinctive characteristic of the DNA of the brand.
Sergio Rossi shoes take a minimum of 120 different steps and 14 hours 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.
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