Son of the famous Sergio Rossi, Gianvito Rossi spoke to Essential about his brand’s journey and a lifetime surrounded by shoes
By: Cátia Matos
It was around 13 years ago that he founded his namesake brand. Although he doesn’t remember the exact moment when shoes began to be the object of his work, Gianvito Rossi grew up surrounded by them. “They have always been part of my life,” he says, smiling.
It was in his father, the famous shoe designer Sergio Rossi, that the Italian saw the inspiration to continue the legacy, as he tells us in a interview with Essential.
“I worked with my father passionately for a long time. I really loved this whole world. When my father sold the company, for the first time I no longer had shoes around me. When we’re surrounded by something our entire lives, it is very hard to understand how important it is to us and what it really means. And we only realise it when we no longer have it. I understood then that that was my life and what I really wanted to do.”
And so, at the age of 49, he made the decision to work with shoes. He is certain that Sergio Rossi “is unique in the world and his level is not even attainable”, but he is trying “to follow in his footsteps as best I can”.
He believes that the closest resemblance to his father lies in his commitment to quality, a commitment he follows religiously in all his work. “I want to stay true to what I like and what I believe (…) We always have to think about the best way we can do something; how can we improve the work and its quality. As a handcrafted product using natural leathers, there are many limitations. Every year, every season, we can take nothing for granted. Both the people and the quality of the materials are always changing. Nothing is permanent.”
The first collection launched by the brand, for Spring/Summer 2007, revealed the creator’s primary goals from the very beginning: to have a strong identity, a contemporary vision and a simple aesthetic. These qualities turned out to be halfway to almost immediate success, but now, all attention falls on the prominent, successful combination of elegance and comfort. “There has to be a lot of work. The portability of the shoe is part of its quality. When we look at the options and we want to combine both, there are 5,000 things that have to be combined. There is a lot of work, but it mainly has to do with the design of the shoe. It has to start from the beginning, from conception.”
It is also in the use of PVC that Gianvito Rossi makes the difference. “I wanted to emphasise the concept of lightness. The idea of creating a lighter shoe, minimalist in elements, and the PVC seemed to be a good option. Aesthetically, it makes the foot look longer, reflects elegance because it is undressed, but at the same time its shape is very clear and regular. It’s a good way to show a little more without being too much.”
And is that the signature when it comes to identifying a Gianvito Rossi shoe? “The truth is, I don’t want my shoes to be immediately recognised as mine. Shoes are an accessory and their mission is to make us feel good. That is my goal when I design a shoe. For this, the lines have to be simpler with extra attention to the shape.”
It is on this premise that he justifies all the success achieved in such a short time. “My clients have discovered a shoe that’s made for them and they don’t choose it necessarily for the brand. It’s something that makes them more confident.”
Big international celebrities, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Diane Kruger, Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron, are already fans of the brand. “I’m very happy when I see them wearing my shoes. It makes me very proud.”
Although he admits that designing for men gives him less freedom of creativity, in
2017, he ventured into his first collection for the male audience. “I wanted to create a luxurious, modern and refreshing collection (…) We are still at the beginning of the process. I defined my line and now we are expanding.”
In regards to the new women’s collection for this season, Gianvito chose red and animal print as the key elements. “This collection comes with various types of leather, animal-themed patterns and a diverse colour palette, where I highlight the red, which is always an element of femininity. I think every woman should have at least one pair of red shoes.”
With his own stores located in strategic locations such as Milan, Rome, Paris, Monte Carlo, London, New York, Miami, California, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul, Gianvito Rossi expects to open several more boutiques in the next few years, more specifically in the US.
When he needs the perspective of a younger generation, he speaks to his children, Sofia and Nicola, as “it is important to have other opinions when we are designing”. It is also in the hands of his children that he wants his brand to continue. “My daughter has now started working at the company and my son has already been working with me for some time.”
As for the future focus of the brand, it remains the same as it has until now. “My greatest wish is that my clients stay as happy as they are,” he concludes.