August 27 2014

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Gianvito Rossi: It Runs In The Family


Being the son of Sergio Rossi, Gianvito Rossi has something of a footwear pedigree. But rather than grow under his father’s brand, the Rimini, Italy-based designer decided to strike out solo. He’s built his own eponymous line at a deliberate pace; after launching in September 2006, Gianvito gradually developed his brand into a worldwide presence. In the U.S., he’s carried at Barneys, where his ongoing collaboration with Joseph Altuzarra has been turning heads. While in New York for the week, Rossi spoke with about his design DNA and his overarching concept.

Having grown up in the footwear business, do you think your style is different from your father’s?
It’s different in a way, but it takes a lot of the DNA. I’ve worked for my father since I was 17, so it’s very much in me. I think what changes is the point of view. You mix your experience with the ideas and concept.

Is there an overarching concept?
The shoe is really more a frame than a piece of art. Some designers may think this way, that it’s more art. For me, the piece of art is women. We’re making something that’s really an accessory.

On the topic of women, is it gratifying to make a beautiful shoe for a woman?
There’s great satisfaction and especially when you see them pleased to wear it. Sometimes, I see a woman who wears sky-high heels and maybe she’s uncomfortable. It changes her mood and in the end is stressful for her. But when she wears a shoe she likes, her whole way about her changes. It’s not only about looking at the shoe then, you can see it in her face.

You work with Joseph Altuzarra on the footwear for his line. How did you two originally link up?
Joseph called me because I was suggested by some friends. At the time, I was in my third collection and I had structured the company step by step, and it was the first time that the production was going very smoothly. He was starting his fashion show and I thought he was a nice guy, so why not? We’ve been collaborating for two and half years now. He’s really a nice guy to work with and I think the designs are looking strong.

Photos: Courtesy of Gianvito Rossi

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