Apr 3, 2020
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Footwear giant Sergio Rossi dies

Apr 3, 2020

Footwear legend Sergio Rossi has died at the age of 84, reportedly from Covid-19, after being hospitalised several days ago.

Sergio Rossi

One of the most influential luxury shoe designers of the 20th century, Rossi was born in 1935 in a part of Italy that’s known for its shoemaking expertise, San Mauro Pascoli.

Trained in Milan and Bologna, as well as by his own father, he began his independent business in the early 1950s. And in those early years was best known for the ultra-feminine sandals that he would spend the winter making to sell in beach resorts during the summer season. The brand he founded continues to be known for its exquisite sandals.

The Sergio Rossi label as we know it today didn’t launch until 1968, but quickly established itself as a major fashion force and became known for its powerful designs.

Rossi combined both a strong design aesthetic with a technical mastery that also made the label appeal to other fashion brands and saw it collaborating with big-hitters such as Dolce & Gabbana and Gianni Versace. 

Kering (then known as PPR) bought control of his firm in 1999 but sold it to private equity giant Investindustrial in 2015. The company relaunched the label in 2016 and has heavily referenced its archive since then, highlighting the enduring appeal of the designs produced under Rossi’s creative control.

“In this uniquely strange moment for our world where we need to keep alive the inspiration of the past of Sergio. We all now feel double engaged in the memory of a great designer,” the house’s CEO Riccardo Sciutto told FashionNetwork.com. 

Sciutto came on board in 2016, after investment group Investindustrial acquired the brand from the Gucci Group. One of his first actions was to rebuild the Sergio Rossi archive largely – from nothing – creating an historic collection of some 6,000 pieces.
“Sergio came last December and we spent a whole afternoon together, and he happily admitted that he had never thought to build an archive. And I said, ‘Sergio you have all this in your heart and mind. Today, we need this for the future of the house you created’,” Sciutto added.
“I told our staff that this is the church of Sergio and we need to protect that,” said the CEO of Rossi who would visit the company plant at San Mauro Pascoli three or four times year.
Rossi died at 84 from coronavirus, one week after being admitted to the hospital. He passed away at at 11PM. Like so many other Italians these days, the shoe legend was prevented from seeing his loved ones, as Covid-19 did its grim work. His surviving son and fellow shoe designer Gianvito Rossi has also tested positive for coronavirus.

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