Francesco Russo to Launch Footwear Line

Six months after his departure from Sergio Rossi, the footwear designer is ready for a return to the fashion scene.

MILAN — Six months after his departure from Sergio Rossi, Francesco Russo is ready for a return to the fashion scene.

This story first appeared in the September 24, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

On Friday, the shoe designer will launch his namesake footwear label during Paris Fashion Week.

“I have been thinking about this project for quite a lot and, at almost 40, I thought it was time to decide if I should realize my dreams or leave them unresolved,” he said during an interview. “So, since I don’t want to have regrets in my life, I took up the challenge.”

The collection will be shown to press and buyers during one-to-one presentations held at his new atelier on Rue de Valois, which will also serve as a store.

“I’ve opted for this kind of presentation because I wanted to return to that Sixties couturelike way of selling shoes,” he said. “Looking at those pictures of Salvatore Ferragamo with his customers, I decided that I wanted to re-create that exchange between the designer and the customer which got lost over the years.”

Russo said that his line, which will be produced in a manufacturing company in the Riviera del Brenta footwear district, will be focused on classic styles, embellished with special details. “I wanted a new take on the concept of traditional women’s shoes,” he said.

For the spring collection, Russo worked goat leather, crocodile- and leopard-printed ponyskin in 25 styles, including numerous high-heeled pumps and sandals. Retail prices will range from 430 euros, or $581 at current exchange, for classic leather or suede pumps, to over 1,000 euros, or $1,351, for shoes in exotic skins with luxury details.

A made-to-measure service will be available at his Paris atelier, where the customers will be able to customize the shoes choosing a specific color or heel.

The designer expressed interest in developing a wholesale business. “I would like to create a dialogue with retailers. I’d like them to become my partners,” he said, referring to the possibility of creating small, dedicated corners in specialty and department stores.

“My first goal now is to create a precise universe,” he said. “I don’t feel the pressure of immediately doing big numbers. I just want to develop my project in an organic way.”