Italian shoe designer Sergio Rossi has succumbed to the coronavirus at the age of 84.
The celebrated figure of the fashion world died on April 2 within days of being hospitalised for the illness. His death was announced by the current CEO of the eponymous brand, who called him a spiritual guide – today more than ever.
In a tribute to the designer, the New York Times described him as renowned for his “spindly heels and designer collaborations” and “part of the postwar generation that transformed Italian fashion”.
Rossi was a shoemaker’s son born in a small Italian town, learning the craft of bespoke footwear making from childhood. He founded his own label in 1968. He became a household name in the industry following a series of collaborations with top fashion labels, including Dolce & Gabbana and Versace.
Rossi’s business was bought by Gucci Group – which later became Kering – in 1999 for about $96 million, but Rossi remained design director and chairman. Kering sold the brand to private-equity company Investindustrial in 2015, which relaunched Sergio Rossi in 2016.
Rossi’s signature curved sole shoe, the Opanca, remains his foremost legacy in the trade.
“With the unquenchable fire of your passion, you taught us that there are no limits for those who love what they do,” read a tribute from Rossi’s son, also a shoe designer. “Goodbye maestro.”