Gianvito Rossi, predicting double digit growth, shoes posh punk meets cool gothic
Gianvito Rossi, an ebullient yet modest shoemaker extraordinaire, doesn’t like to boast, but he expects double digit growth in total turnover this year.
Between his core products and his more avant garde collection his shoe brand scored annual sales of 99 million euros in 2022. “That brought business back to pre-pandemic levels, which is a good feeling,” explains Rossi, at a presentation of his latest collection in the Ritz on Thursday.
His fall collection is a remarkable meeting of posh punk and cool gothic, made in the signature 'less is much more' Gianvito style, presented in a series of fluted columns.
While his core collection is a tour de force of swish chic, each of the models lovingly named, one of them named Metropolis features straps in a stretchy plexiglass, allowing a greater sense of freedom, “like a running sandal,” while the Portofino revamps the sandal with graphic brands and higher back. His Bijoux, in gold, is made of padded brands giving a 3D mood, while the all-black Vamp is a glove-like bootie with a deep décolleté cut. All-together, magnified minimalism, like placing malleable plexiglass along the side of a fine pointy pump, “to create as they say in Asia, the infinite leg,” he chuckles.
For fall, he even features square toes – seen in sexy cuissarde boots made in super soft python in either printed leather or all black. He also focusses on lots of “chic and sleek” boots and shoes with scores of grommets, and pump finished with a great new version of flower buds, made in leather trimmed with zips. While gladiator sandals come tight to the calf, and patent leather cuissardes are pure and black with tiny lace up details.
The son of the legendary shoe designer Sergio Rossi, Gianvito spent 20 years working for the family firm before it was sold to the Gucci Group (subsequently Kering) in 1999.
“Everything I know about shoes, I know from my father. I had a chance to learn from the very best teacher. But when I opened my own line, I decided to do only what I like – and I had three pillars to my DNA – Modern, Feminine and Elegant,” says Gianvito over coffee in the Salon Louis XIV.
By 2006, after a few stints designing for other brands, he launched his own label, immediately gaining attention with his sleek modernism, and pioneering details. Today he owns two plants – the factory where he does all his product development, and a second that manufactures some 35% of his annual output. Annually, total production now reaches over 320,000 pairs, all very much high-end.
Retail today accounts for 30% of sales. Worldwide, Gianvito Rossi has some 350 clients, selling in over 400 points of sale. Online, he stresses “our strong long-term partnerships with the likes of Net-a-Porter and Mytheresa.” Adding that business to the brand’s sales on its own platform, online sales account for about 25% of total revenue.
Looking ahead, Gianvito sees the US market remaining “tricky,” but in China and the Middle East he predicts sturdy growth. He is adding one more store to his four in China, has just opened boutiques in Dubai and Qatar, and has a store in Riyadh in the pipeline, all three in luxury malls. While in Berlin, Rossi will open its own store directly. All told, the brand boasts 30 directly owned stores.
Like most hard-working Italian bon vivants, Gianvito owns a lot of cars, though his current favorites are two Porches – a modernist Taycan Electric and an ingeniously aerodynamic GT3. Just like his shoes, which have a decidedly sleek aura.
Vacations vary from the Four Seasons in the Maldives, “that’s my favorite spot, while in winter, when I can I ski in Cortina,” beams Gianvito, who is married with a daughter who works for the brand and a son who is completing an MBA in Chicago. In 10 days, he is off to Sevilla for the Feria, the historic horse fair which has grown into an immense festival of fine food, wine, dancing and the noche del Alumbrao, or night of lightning.
He lives between San Mauro Pascoli in Emilia Romagna, around where Federico Fellini spent his formative years, and Milano, where he has a store, showroom and private studio. While in the Italian fashion capital, Gianvito resides, but of course, in the Four Seasons, “where I feel quite at home.”
Though slim, like a true Italian Gianvito enjoys his food, and his favorite restaurants tend to be classics – the recently refurnished Il Baretto in Milano, Voltaire and Le Duc in Paris, Scott’s and Harry’s Bar in London, and Uliassi in Senigallia on the Adriatic Coast. “One of the best places in Italy!” says Gianvito, who when pronouncing Uliassi, smacks his lips.
In short, destinations favored by the very well-heeled women who are Gianvito Rossi’s devoted clients.
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