Footwear fashion mourns one of the most prestigious representatives of Made in Italy: Sergio Rossi has left us. The famous fashion designer died yesterday with Coronavirus, at Cesena hospital: he was 85 years old. His life story has been mirroring the economic boom Italy enjoyed, when we climbed the roof of the world, thanks to hard working and outstanding creative ingenuity and talent. Giuseppe Baiardo commemorates him.
Sergio Rossi has died
Sergio Rossi learnt his job from his father, who was a shoemaker, in San Mauro Pascoli, which was extremely poor at that time. They opened their factory in the early fifties simultaneously with a gleaming footwear cluster. According to those years vogue, in San Mauro they were first manufacturing shoes for a developing beach tourism. Shortly after, footwear got its own style to reach the world of fashion alongside the international jet set. The first advertising and marketing campaigns took inspiration from renowned photographer Helmut Newton. Furthermore, some movie stars, such as Anita Ekberg, playing in “La Dolce Vita”, and Silvana Mangano, playing in “Gruppo di famiglia in un interno”(“Conversation Piece”), directed by Visconti, were wearing his shoes. In the seventies, Sergio Rossi reached top popularity as he started liaising with some of the most important fashion designers, such as Versace, and managed to open a number of mono-brand boutiques all around the world.
The advanced stage
There was a historic turning point in 1999: Rossi divested 70% of his company to Gucci group: selling price was 96 million dollars. Six years later, he sold off the remaining 30% of it. Thanks to such considerable cash availability, Sergio Rossi decided to join the real estate business, but his achievements were not as successful as the ones he had carried out in the footwear industry. Since shoes were actually his raison d’être, he decided to provide youngsters with professional training. That is why he led Cercal international school from 2007 until 2013 (he had previously done it from 1985 to 1990). In the following years, he worked together with Gianvito, his son, in his entrepreneurial enterprise with GGR brand. His death has left a big hole in Italy’s fashion. He deserved a solemn funeral in San Mauro. Unfortunately, due to this absurd situation, it was not possible.
“Sergio Rossi was like a father to me: he was a great man and a great entrepreneur – movingly commented Giuseppe Baiardo, from CDivertiamo shoe factory –. We have known each other since 1978. We have shared so many moments, either happy or sad, for 42 years. Indeed, he helped me a great deal and taught me many things. Firstly, he taught me how to work enthusiastically and do well what we are up to, with no concerns about money. In fact, if one works well, money comes, eventually – wrapped up the footwear entrepreneur –. I sorrowfully grieve his death. I want to offer his loved ones my sincere affection”.