The fashion fraternity lost one of its innovators, Italian shoe designer Sergio Rossi, to coronavirus complications this past week. He was 84 years old in a country where the Covid-19 pandemic is most rampant - he too, had even donated €100 000 (approximately R20 million) to the Sacco hospital in Milan to help in the fight against coronavirus just last month.
According to Vogue, the widely revered cordwainer had been hospitalised for a few days at the Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, Italy. Announcing this news, Sergio Rossi CEO Riccardo Sciutto, reportedly said; “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.”
Business of Fashion succinctly eulogised Sergio Rossi in an article upon receiving the news on Friday, explaining how "Rossi learned the trade from his father and began selling artisan-crafted women’s footwear bearing his own name in 1968."
Sergio did indeed successfully create an enduring brand of footwear for every kind of woman - from his label's fledgling years characterised by classic shoe designs to the very end, where we saw his art on women's feet on the bright fashion capital streets.
Sergio Rossi Fall/Winter 2004-05 Collection at the Sergio Rossi Boutique in Beverly Hills, California (Photo by Donato Sardella/WireImage)
Leather slingbacks from Sergio Rossi. 19 February 2003 (Photo by Edward Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)
Closeup of model adjusting one of her platform moccasins by Sergio Rossi for Rossi Shoes; patterned socks and cuffed pants are visible. 1972 (Photo by Kourken Pakchanian/Condé Nast via Getty Images)
A guest, Sergio Rossi shoes details, is seen outside Elie Saab show during Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Spring Summer 2019 on January 23, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images)
The late Sergio Rossi adds to the list of deceased legends whose work was a testament to their appreciation of women and how clothes make them feel. Over the past few years we've lost iconic French designer Hervé Léger who died at the young age of 60, French-Tunisian King of Cling Azzedine Alaïa who died at the age of 82, French fashion designer Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy who passed away at the age of 91, "Jeans Queen" Gloria Vanderbilt who died at 95, and iconic fashion giant Karl Lagerfeld who died in 2019 at the age of 85.
During his 50-year tenure of shoemaking, Sergio had collaborated with Azzedine Alaïa, Gianni Versace (assassinated in 1997), and Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.
In a statement obtained by WWD, his family wrote;
"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.”
Without diluting his family's sentiments with our own winged words, let's appreciate a few off his memorable contributions to luxury fashion and the designs that influenced both mainstream and offbeat trends we know and love today.