Sergio Rossi. Photograph: Instagram
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With almost 14,000 deaths in Italy alone, the deadly virus is believed to have taken 84-year-old footwear legend Sergio Rossi, whose iconic footwear brand was bought out in 1999 by Gucci Group, which has since become part of the Kering Umbrella. He was hospitalised in Cesena, a city in Emilia-Romagna, one of the regions hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, leading sources to speculate he had contracted coronavirus.

Alyson Le Borges in Dergio Rossi on the red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival
Alyson Le Borges in Dergio Rossi on the red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival

Sergio Rossi was born in 1935 in San Muro Pascoli, Italy and was taught the trade of artisan shoemaking from his father. He started out by spending his winters creating sandals and selling them to summer tourists on the beaches of Rimini and then the boutiques in Bologna and quickly made a name for himself.

Rossi had a real passion for women and everything they represented, he believed that a shoe was not an accessory but an extension on the female leg and should be admired as such. His desire was to create shoes that were both elegant and sophisticated yet moved with the times, but also very easy to wear and oozed femininity. Rossi quickly became famous for his fine craftmanship with a typical Sergio Rossi shoe taking 14 hours and a 120 step process to create.

Along with his own shoe brand, Sergio Rossi was often found collaborating with designers such as Dolce & Gabbana and Versace.

His work was his passion and he often found it difficult to separate his home life from his work and strongly believed that the shoe industry for him, was “a family affair”, so nothing made him more proud than having his son Gianvito work alongside him before he went off and set up his own namesake brand in 2007. 

Sergio Rossi will be deeply missed by everyone in the footwear community, he was an expert craftsman and a true gentleman and his family name will live on in the industry through his son Gianni Rossi.

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Editor in Chief of Ikon London Magazine, journalist, film producer and founder of The DAFTA Film Awards (The DAFTAs).