Legendary Shoe Designer Sergio Rossi Dies at 84

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Iconic Shoe Designer Sergio Rossi passed away on 2 April at 84.

The entrepreneur and dean of the shoe industry had been hospitalized for a few days at the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, in northern Italy after having tested positive for COVID-19. Fashion designers and Industry Stalwarts paid homage to the maestro with heartfelt tributes pouring in from Cesare Casadei, Manolo Blahnik, Francois-Henri Pinault, Rupert Sanderson, Giuseppe Zanotti, Samuele Failli, Nicolo Beretta.

‘Today everyone at Sergio Rossi joins me in remembering our dear Sergio, the inspiring founder of our dream. Sergio Rossi was a master, and it is my great honor to have met him and gotten to present him the archive earlier this year. His vision and approach will remain our guide in the growth of the brand and the business. He loved women and was able to capture a woman’s femininity in a unique way, creating the perfect extension of a woman’s leg through his shoes. Our long and glorious history started from his incredible vision and we’ll remember his creativity forever,’ said Riccardo Sciutto, CEO Sergio Rossi Group in a statement on Rossi’s official Instagram account.

Born in the province of Forli-Cesena in Italy in 1935, Rossi learned the field from his father who was a shoemaker and opened a factory in the well-known shoe district of San Mauro Pascoli in the early 1950s, at the beginning of the economic boom. In 1968 he established his namesake label and went on to become one of the most renowned footwear designers. The fame and success of his most famous creations the ‘Opanca sandal’ led to collaborations with Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Azzedine Alaia. His creations were popular among high-end models and celebrities like Adriana Lima, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and Paris Hilton. Rossi’s son Gianvito worked with his Father until the Sergio Rossi brand was sold in 1999 to the Gucci Group, now known as Kering.

Last month Rossi donated 100,000 Euros to the ASST Fatebenefratelli – Sacco hospital in Milan. to help in the fight against coronavirus and also pledged 100 percent of online sales between 14th and 20th March to the cause.

‘There are those who have had the good fortune to transform their art into a work and those who have the extraordinary talent of transforming their work into a work of art. Sergio Rossi was this man. A husband, father, grandfather, and progenitor of a family that followed his example. The family offers, with love, their last goodbye. With the unquenchable fire of your passion, you taught us that there are no limits for those who love what they do,’ his family said in a statement to WWD.

Rossi leaves behind an enduring legacy.

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