October 26 2011
Lucia van der Post
Sergio Rossi has long been a name to conjure with in shoe-obsessed circles. He’s one of those grand old Italian cobblers who learned his craft at his father’s knee, legendary for his artisanal skills, his heritage, his history.
Sergio Rossi himself is no longer at the helm but the name still resonates. Take a look at this autumn and winter’s collection and though as I write it is still (officially) late summer, I’m already longing for winter’s chill so I don’t look too daft in a pair of his stunning little boots, all brilliant vibrant colour and with the sexiest of little curves around the ankle.
What makes him worth writing about now is that his new shop, revamped by Ilse Crawford, is not just a place to buy shoes, but is a jewel-like haven of luxe in London’s Knightsbridge, a worthy frame to the voluptuous nature of the shoes. Crawford has redesigned the shop to have the intimacy and reassurance of a house – all glamorous marble at the front and embracing, boudoir-like velvet at the back.
Ultimately, though, you don’t go to a shop for the fittings – you go for what it’s purveying, and this season creative director Francesco Russo, who used to design Yves Saint Laurent’s footwear under Stefano Pilati, has come up trumps. He has stuck to the Rossi code – all beautiful leathers and fine workmanship – and he has recoloured the classic thin high-heeled Chi Chi pump (third picture, from £345) that no Sergio Rossi fan would ever allow the company to drop from the range. But it’s his little ankle boots with ruffle cuffs that really make it worth the journey to Knightsbridge. They come in a range of colours, including today’s oh-so-on-trendy spots (Dahlia Booties in polka dot, first picture, £935). And then there’s the gorgeous Tortuosa shoe, which is a plain high-heeled pump embellished with a scroll or frill at the side (from £590).
It’s worth knowing, too, that Sergio Rossi was doing a platform under the sole way back in the 1970s, long before another well-known shoe designer made it one of her hallmarks, and there is also a classic pump embellished with a platform sole in his collection (Cachet platform shoe, second picture, from £445), giving just that bit of added oomph to the traditional shape.