LONDON, United Kingdom — Sergio Rossi has died at age 84. Rossi’s son Gianvito confirmed in a statement that the renowned Italian shoemaker contracted Covid-19 and had been hospitalised in Cesena, Italy.
Rossi learned the trade from his father and began selling artisan-crafted women’s footwear bearing his own name in 1968. His label gained prominence in the 1970s for its refined, sophisticated styles and, in the 1990s, Rossi designed shoes for fashion houses such as Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Azzedine Alaïa.
“Today everyone at Sergio Rossi joins me in remembering our dear Sergio, the inspiring founder of our dream,” wrote Sergio Rossi Group Chief Executive Riccardo Sciutto in a statement.“Sergio Rossi was a master, and it is my great honour 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.”
In 1999, Sergio Rossi was acquired by Gucci Group, which later merged with parent PPR, now Kering, which sold the brand to Italian private equity firm Investindustrial in 2015 after struggling to turn the business around. The label relaunched with a new marketing and communications strategy and an international growth plan. It has since expanded beyond women’s footwear to include men’s footwear, bags and accessories.
After working alongside his father for years, Gianvito Rossi launched his own business in 2006. “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,” he wrote in a statement. “Sergio Rossi was this man. A husband, father, grandfather, and progenitor of a family that followed his example.”