MILAN — Six years after he sold 70 percent of his firm to Gucci Group, Sergio Rossi is bidding addio to the firm he founded in the Fifties.
His son, Gianvito Rossi, marketing manager, and brother, Franco Rossi, a board member, are leaving with him. Sergio Rossi was president of the board and creative director.
The decision follows a deal signed in January 2004, when Gucci Group took full control of the footwear and handbag brand, deciding Sergio Rossi would slowly relinquish his personal involvement.
“Sergio Rossi and his family have played a key role in the luxury shoes sector,” Isabelle Guichot, chief executive officer at Sergio Rossi, said in a statement. “We are incredibly grateful for the valuable contribution they have made to the brand over the years. We believe that, by leveraging the brand’s strong foundations and its great potential, the Sergio Rossi brand has all the required assets to achieve its targets.”
In spring 2005, Guichot left Richemont SA for the executive post at Sergio Rossi while designer Edmundo Castillo joined in November 2004 as senior women’s footwear designer.
Since Gucci Group took over, Sergio Rossi’s directly operated stores leaped to 48 from 13. A new flagship will open this winter on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, replacing the temporary unit in SoHo.
“The end of our collaboration was a natural evolution; we were prepared,” Gianvito Rossi said in an interview.
Rossi and his father will channel their expertise into their own project. “We are thinking of doing our own line because we are now freer to express our creativity without having to constantly mediate … We’re in no hurry,” he said.
He denied that the family is interested in buying back the company.
Gucci Group acquired its first majority stake in the footwear firm, based in San Mauro Pascoli, in central Italy, in 1996 for a reported $96 million. It took full control five years later. At that time, the union, whose aim was to boost brand awareness internationally, open more stores and streamline the company’s image, galvanized both the Gucci brass and the Rossi family.
In 2001, a new universal store concept was unveiled, and in spring 2004, the company opened a state-of-the-art factory that also produces for Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen.