LONDON — Riccardo Sciutto isn’t one to let a little political tension get in the way of a retail store opening. He plans to open Sergio Rossi’s first Mount Street store during one of the most critical weeks in British politics, with members of Parliament gearing for three votes that will decide how — or if — Britain will exit the European Union on March 29.
“London for me is a whole world in miniature, and we need to be here,” said Sciutto, the company’s chief executive officer who has been working for two years on the opening of the store at 16 Mount Street. Sergio Rossi’s neighbors include Balenciaga, Simone Rocha, Scott’s restaurant, Christopher Kane and Roksanda, among others.
“I am a glass-half-full person and I believe that every country can have its difficult years. So when people were talking about Brexit, I said, ‘Why wait and see what happens? Let’s go to London!’ It is a city with international vision,” he added.
The first half is shaping up to busy for Sciutto, who joined the company in 2016 after Investindustrial purchased Sergio Rossi from Kering.
In January, he opened the brand’s Westfield Century City pop-up, while a permanent store at 680 Madison Avenue in Manhattan is set to open in the late spring, or early summer, near Tom Ford. As reported, the 800-square-foot Sergio Rossi store will be located at Carlton House, as the building is known.
The Mount Street store, which spans 1,080 square feet, is part of a new generation of Sergio Rossi units and replaces the former Rossi unit at 207 Sloane Street. The company, which as been opening, renovating or relocating stores worldwide, counts around 50 company-owned, permanent units.
Architect Marco Costanzi has designed the London space, while the furniture was created exclusively for the brand by interior designer Cristina Celestino. It is meant to highlight the shoes as artisanal gems.
Sergio Rossi’s shoes are made in its state-of-the-art factory in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, one of the country’s leather goods hubs. Sciutto is proud of the factory and of the 120 artisans who take 14 to 20 hours to hand-make a pair of shoes.
The store space itself is all rose gold, blush, taupe and pale green, with an Art Deco, boudoir feel. The ground floor houses the product while the upper floor is for VIP customers.
London is the first brick-and-mortar unit to house touch-screen technology that allows customers to play “like in the Magic Kingdom,” said Sciutto, and create their own shoes. They get to choose from a selection of slippers, pumps and sneakers and to customize heel heights, materials and hardware colors in a service known as Your Own Sergio Rossi.
“You can have so much fun with it and delivery comes within three to five weeks, which makes us the quickest in the sector thanks to our integrated factory,” said Sciutto. “Other companies have forgotten about the importance of moving and reacting quickly, but not us.”
The London boutique will also be the first to carry a men’s wear capsule, the first since the relaunch of the brand in 2016. “I put men’s wear on hold when I first arrived here, but now it’s back again,” said Sciutto, adding that Sergio Rossi men’s shoes will also get their own space at Hankyu Men’s Tokyo later this month.
The footwear company was founded by designer Sergio Rossi in the Fifties. In 1999, Gucci Group, which was later folded into Kering, snapped up a majority stake in the brand during an aggressive acquisitions drive masterminded by Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford.
Kering eventually took full control of Sergio Rossi in 2004, and sold it to Investindustrial in late 2015.
Sergio Rossi won’t be the only Italian brand to lend a distinct Mediterranean flavor to Mount Street this year: In April, the Milanese bakery and coffee shop Marchesi will open at 117 Mount Street on the site formerly occupied by the high-end butcher shop Allen & Co.
Marchesi will offer a pastry counter, bakery and café, offering cakes, biscuits and sweets, as well as the chocolates, Italian ice cream and the brand’s own panettone.