Sergio Rossi began his career in the 1950s working alongside his father, a shoemaker in Italy’s Romagna region. Armed with the tools and traditions taught to him by his father, he ventured to Milan to hone his passion for the craft. He studied and trained there for two years, developing an appreciation of forms and shapes, the very heart of a shoemaker’s expertise.
In the summer of 1966, Sergio Rossi began selling his shoes to shops in Bologna. This biggest hit out of this first collection was a sandal he called Opanca – a design that was both simple and daring, with a sole that gently curved around the foot, blending almost seamlessly with the upper part of the shoe.
As demand for couture shoes skyrocketed in the 1970s, Gianni Versace and Sergio Rossi began their formal collaboration. The Milanese fashion world took note of the shoemaker’s acute eye for fashion-enhancing footwear – during the shows, various top designers asked Sergio Rossi to select shoes for their models to wear on the catwalk. Keeping up with the demand proved difficult and he had to turn down some requests. However, he never said no to Gianni Versace.
The Milanese fashion shows were a priceless showcase. Sergio Rossi quickly made himself known in the international fashion world, but perhaps more importantly, he presented shoes as an indispensable accessory to the fashion of the day.
During the 1980s, Sergio Rossi became closely linked with some of the leading design houses in the fashion industry, producing shoes for the collections of Dolce 6 Gabbana (from 1989 to 1999) and Azzedine Alaia.
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