You probably don’t know it, but you may already own several pairs of shoes by Sergio Rossi.
For more than 20 years, the Italian shoemaker worked behind the scenes to produce footwear for fashion houses such like Azzedine Alaia, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace. Rossi’s increasing popularity led him to open his first boutique in 1985, with subsequent outposts throughout cities in Italy as well as New York, London and others.
As a designer, Rossi always kept his focus on the women who wore his shoes. He didn’t want to make shoes that were just beautiful; he wanted to make shoes women felt comfortable in.
Little wonder, then, the Sergio Rossi fan club is filled with celebrities, notably Priyanka Chopra, Taylor Swift, and Beyonce, who insists on only Sergio Rossi for her high-energy concerts.
It is a principle the brand, owned by private equity firm Investindustrial since 2015, continues to abide by. As Riccardo Sciutto, who masterminded the brand’s relaunch after coming on-board as Group CEO in 2016, notes in an e-mail interview, “Women today are confident, sophisticated, feminine and empowered. It is key to keep pushing to create an offer that properly responds to a woman’s needs and desires.”
Indeed, the modern lady is very busy. Her shoes hence must look good, reflect her taste, and are functional. As a response to such multifarious needs, shoe designers have over the past seasons pushed out diversified styles. A study by Bloomberg published in September 2019 reveals that the global footwear industry is estimated to grow at three per cent per annum and likely to hit US$15.26 billion in value by 2023.
Sergio Rossi found its answer in SR1, a collection of daywear shoes it launched in 2017 and, as Sciutto lets on, accounts for over 50 percent of business. For one, the SR1 sandal is a simple, strappy design and comes in two heel height options. The line-up also includes flats, sneakers, kitten heels and stilettos, which he proudly notes, “can easily work from day to night”.
Some of these bestsellers are already available at the recently-launched Sergio Rossi pop-up on the second floor of Takashimaya department store. If anything, the pop-up provides a preview of the upcoming flagship store in Singapore and the brand’s first in Southeast Asia.
Also on offer is the Resort 2020 collection, with sneakers and kitten heels for girls-on-the-go, and towering silver platform sandals and netted black pumps festooned with crystals for merrymakers. We’re also keeping our peepers peeled for the Super Heel – pumps mirrored in metallic pinks and blues and that bear the block-lettered SERGIO logo from 1969 and reimagined as a 3D heel.
Sciutto’s sights are firmly set on the future; in 2020, he wants to build on Sergio Rossi’s eco-conscious endeavours. Research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013 shows that making a pair of trainers generates 13kg of carbon dioxide while more than two-thirds of greenhouse gases a shoe produces are caused by the manufacturing process. Multiply that figure into the millions, and you have a rough idea of how detrimental footwear production is to our environment.
This is not Sergio Rossi’s first attempt at sustainability – in 2009, the brand launched the Eco Pump. It went on to introduce eco-friendly packaging in 2012 and worked with environment activist Livia Firth on a green collection in 2015.
“We have started an important project on sustainability, with our focus on energy. Starting next January, our headquarters, production lines and stores in Italy will be entirely green, with the intention of expanding this worldwide,” divulges Sciutto.
“[Being sustainable] is more important today than ever. It’s the reason behind our investment in reducing the environmental footprint of our manufacturing activities through re-focusing on high-efficiency energy production, energy monitoring and optimising logistics. Looking at our brand through a sustainability lens will help us improve our social and environmental footprint and drive our growth.”
This story first appeared in the December 2019 issue of A.