Footwear designer Sergio Rossi dies

Sergio Rossi's Godiva stilettos. Image credit: Facebook - Sergio Rossi

Celebrated footwear designer Sergio Rossi has died, aged 84.

The legendary craftsman passed away in Cesena, Italy this week after being admitted to hospital, according to the company's chief executive officer, Riccardo Sciutto.

"He was a master, it was a great pleasure to have met him," Sciutto said in a statement to WWD. "He was our spiritual guide and he is today more than ever."

In a statement, Rossi's son Gianvito confirmed his father died on Thursday night after contracting Covid-19.

Born in the Romagna region of Italy, Sergio Rossi followed in his father's footsteps and launched a factory in 1951. He soon built up a reputation for his Opanca sandal with a curved sole and later expanded his collection to include a wider range of footwear.

Over the years, Rossi collaborated with designers at fashion houses including Versace, Azzedine Alaia, and Dolce & Gabbana, and also opened up boutiques in major cities around the world.

Praising the artisan's business sense, Sciutto added: "(He loved) women and was able to capture a woman's femininity in a unique way. He was never over-the-top, always in good taste. The shoes were always wearable and he was never satisfied until they were perfect. They were not accessories for him. He told me once that he wanted to create the perfect extension of a woman's leg."

The Sergio Rossi brand was purchased by PPR Luxury Division, now known as Kering, in 1999. The company was then acquired by private equity firm Investindustrial in 2015, with Scuitto joining the following year.

Gianvito Rossi unveiled his own footwear label in 2007.

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