MILAN — Sergio Rossi today unveils the Grazie Sergio tribute collection, which “is born from the heart,” said Riccardo Sciutto, chief executive officer of the brand.
Ever since taking on his role in 2016, Sciutto has been vocal about his admiration for the legendary founder.
Rossi died in April at 84, a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Sciutto during the lockdown started thinking of a way to pay tribute to the designer, his vision and creativity.
The name itself is a tribute, since “grazie” in Italian means thank you, and the collection comprises 10 of Rossi’s most representative and signature styles, crafted in its San Mauro Pascoli factory. It is “dedicated to all the brand’s lovers,” who will recognize his storied designs, and “continue to be moved by his talent,” Sciutto said.
Rossi was born in San Mauro Pascoli, one of Italy’s main shoemaking regions, in 1935. He learned the trade from his father, began producing footwear in the Fifties and launched his namesake brand in 1968. As he grew his own label, the designer also collaborated with fashion houses such as Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Azzedine Alaïa.
Rossi developed a number of groundbreaking styles such as the Opanca sandal with its curved sole.
Sciutto has been assembling an archive at the factory that includes 6,300 pairs of original Sergio Rossi shoes, but the designs he selected were those “that were groundbreaking, really marking a dramatic change in footwear,” and they range from 1969 to 2003.
The Grazie shoes are faithful reproductions, even featuring the original label. “It’s a rebirth for these models,” Sciutto said.
Examples include a 1969 pump in napa with a geometric heel; a 1973 bicolor platform in chalk and Imperial red; a 1998 suede cage sandal with silver details, and a sr1 leather sandal. Upon his arrival at the company, Sciutto redeveloped the sr1 concept and he said that today the new, revisited sr1 line accounts for half of the brand’s sales. Another standout is a platinum mesh boot with hand-sewn beads.
They all look very contemporary and Sciutto underscored the “timeless, feminine quality” of the designs.
Not more than 500 pieces per model will be produced and the collection will be available in stores for Christmas. Prices range from 500 euros to 2,500 euros for the boots.
Rossi left his namesake brand shortly after then-Gucci Group, now Kering, took full control of the company in 2004. (It had first taken a majority stake in the firm in 1999 when Gucci was under the leadership of Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford.) European investment fund Investindustrial bought the company in 2015.
Next year will mark a milestone, the 70th anniversary of the company, and Sciutto said that, “if 2021 starts with these shoes on women’s feet, it will be the best way to blow out the candles.”