MILAN – Italian luxury footwear brand Sergio Rossi is reaching out to real women with images of a number of influencers in a new digital communication project, named “srStories.”
The company has already photographed 12 women including Claire Distenfeld, founder of Fivestory; Shiona Turini, international fashion and celebrity stylist, who has worked with Beyoncé; Giorgia Tordini, cofounder of the Attico fashion brand; Alexa Hirschfeld, cofounder and president of Paperless Post; street-style photographer Tamu McPherson; and Lucia Echavarria, the creative force behind Magnetic Midnight. Photos, videos and gifs of the women will be shared on Sergio Rossi’s web site and on social media.
“They can wear whatever clothes they want, but the only request is that they be photographed or filmed at home and wearing our sr1 sabot,” explained Riccardo Sciutto, chief executive officer of Sergio Rossi. “We want to have an emotional element to show the direction of the brand, and these are real customers who enjoy the label. This project shows the evolution of social media through real people. These are real women, entrepreneurs who express self-confidence. They have a point of view, they are modern and lead an active life.”
Sciutto also underscored that these women “are intelligent but they don’t take themselves too seriously. There is an element of irony and spontaneity.”
The first group was photographed in New York, followed by Milan and Tokyo. “There will be other cities next year,” said Sciutto.
The executive highlighted how he wanted to avoid images that are “too sophisticated and look fake. These are real women that represent our brand.” Sergio Rossi unveiled a new in-house web site in mid-February, which allowed for additional control over the brand. The company had worked with Yoox since 2012.
The collection was presented at Milan’s Teatro Filodrammatici with a live ballet performance and was meant to reflect Sergio Rossi’s rebirth. The executive’s strategy is to return to the original nature of the brand as it was established by its namesake founder.
Sciutto, previously general manager of Hogan, joined Sergio Rossi in March 2016. The company’s manufacturing plant is based in San Mauro Pascoli in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, one of the country’s most important leather-goods hubs. Covering 194,400 square feet, the state-of-the-art plant with solar panels has 110 employees, including artisans that have 40 years of experience with Sergio Rossi and who painstakingly apply more than 100 steps to a shoe by hand. The company produces 250,000 pairs of shoes a year.
The sr1 collection comprises 10 models that reference two of Sergio Rossi’s historic shoes. One example is a luxury high-heeled sabot with a metallic plaque on the vamp. The price range will not change, with designs retailing at between 400 and 600 euros, or $447 and $670. The company is also revamping a historic logo and changing product packaging.
Following the exit of design director Angelo Ruggeri in May, the brand is designed by a team headed by a veteran in footwear design whose name Sciutto prefers to keep under wraps.
European investment house Investindustrial in December 2015 took control of Sergio Rossi from Kering, and tapped former Pomellato ceo Andrea Morante as president of the firm. Investindustrial was founded by Italian financier Andrea C. Bonomi and also has stakes in Aston Martin, B&B Italia and luxury lighting firm Flos, among others.
The footwear company was founded by designer Sergio Rossi in the Fifties. Gucci Group, which has since been folded into Kering, snapped up a majority stake in the brand in 1999 during an aggressive acquisition drive masterminded by Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford. The group eventually took full control of the company in 2004.
Sergio Rossi’s revenues total around 70 million euros, or $78 million, said Sciutto.