In the luxury goods business, the shoe industry is still very much a new game. Compared to haute couture, ready-to-wear, cosmetics, and leather goods, there hasn’t been a lot of shoe designers playing the game. Throughout the 20th century, there have been names like Salvatore Ferragamo, Manolo Blahnik, and Jimmy Choo that have become big in the high fashion shoe game, but not much else. The limited number of personalities who revolutionized shoes have made the industry open that various fashion houses have started offering their own shoe lines. However, there are times in which a new player enters the field, and catches everyone in the industry by surprise. A player like Gianvito Rossi.
Gianvito Rossi Set Off
Son of another iconic shoe designer, Sergio Rossi, Gianvito grew up around shoes. The Rossi household was just above their factory, so he was able to witness firsthand how his father’s best-selling pairs were designed, constructed, and produced. Although he ventured into other areas, such as getting a degree in sociology and political science from university, he could not get shoes out of his mind. He eventually worked in the company when he was a young man, helping his father design new items and run the family business.
In 2000, luxury holding company Gucci Group bought the Sergio Rossi brand. From then on, both Gianvito and his father Sergio backed out of the shoe game and went into other fields. However, Gianvito still loved making shoes and thought it was his time to open up a new brand under his own name. Gianvito Rossi was then launched in 2006, with the designer as both creative director and head of business operations. This time, Gianvito is navigating the shoe industry alone, while his father has ultimately retired from designing shoes and has left the family craft to his son. His designs are usually elegant, refined, and sleek – a perfect fit for the modern woman.
Unlike his father’s business, that is still operating and producing shoes to this day, Gianvito Rossi is a stand-alone label. It rarely collaborates with other labels for projects and aims to simply please the female customer. With Sergio Rossi, Gianvito was able to work with fashion houses like Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana, designing shoes for their runway shows. But for his own eponymous label, the consumer is more important. His shoes are not as ostentatious as others’ and are not made for runway shows and magazine shoots. The label’s key principles are sophistication and comfort, making shoes for women to actually move about in and not just to wear for still images.
Even by bearing his father’s name, Gianvito was still able to make a name for himself in the high-end fashion shoe industry. As years have gone by since he launched his own label, his company has risen to prominence, capturing the hearts of many female customers as well as the attention of the fashion press. Although they always mention the famous heritage, the fashion media has highlighted Gianvito Rossi as a success story on its own, achieving a faithful clientele in less than a decade.
In less than 10 years since opening, Gianvito Rossi already has a couple of signature classics in their roster of shoes. There’s the Portofino sandal, a pair of strappy stiletto heels that have since become a staple for women when they’re dating. It features a thin strap by the toes to hold them in place and another, slightly thicker strap by the ankle to fasten everything together. Another of the label’s signatures are the velvet ankle boots, comparatively chunkier than the Portofino sandal. This pair features high-cut ankle boots made in some of the most luxurious and softest velvets in Italy. It’s even offered in either shiny or matte velvet, which are both equally exquisite.
Arguably the company’s best-selling pair to date is the leather-tip PVC stiletto shoes, also known as the Plexi pumps. It features a classic pump silhouette made with clear plexi panels to give the illusion that the shoe comprises only of the leather tip and the supporting heel. It has since become an iconic pair, worn by women from all over the world and infinitely-copied. It offers both a sophisticated yet sexy look, and has been regarded by Gianvito himself as “the man’s idea of a woman’s shoe”.
The brand has also amassed a following of famous fans. Actresses Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson have worn a pair of Rossi’s to the red carpet, while models Chrissy Teigen and Lily Aldridge have been spotted wearing the label on the street. One of Rossi’s most famous and revered clients is Kate Middleton, also known as the Duchess of Cambridge, who has often paired her Gianvito Rossi shoes with her royal ensembles.
After opening up just more than a decade ago, the Gianvito Rossi brand continues to expand. Some of the most prominent fashion retailers in the world sell his shoes, like Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. By 2016, over 250 stores worldwide have ordered stock from Rossi and the company has been earning $75 million annually. With so much success for such a young business, it looks like Gianvito Rossi will follow in his father’s footsteps in the history of the shoe industry.