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CORONAVIRUS

Famed Italian shoemaker Sergio Rossi dies from coronavirus-related complications

The footwear designer, 84, began designing shoes in the 1950s

Shoemaker Sergio Rossi began designing shoes in the 1950s. Sergio Rossi / Instagram
Shoemaker Sergio Rossi began designing shoes in the 1950s. Sergio Rossi / Instagram

Italian luxury shoemaker Sergio Rossi has died aged 84 after being hospitalised with the coronavirus.

The mayor of the famed designer's home town confirmed the news on Friday, April 3.

Rossi died on Thursday in the small town of Cesena in central Italy.

Italy has recorded more deaths from the coronavirus than any other country in the world, with more than 14,000 fatalities as of Saturday. The elderly have been particularly hard hit by the virus, of which there are more than 119,000 recorded cases in the European country, and 19,700 confirmed recoveries.

"[Rossi] was among the founders of the high-end women's footwear district in the area of Forli and Cesena in the mid-20th century," said Luciana Garbuglia, mayor of San Mauro Pascoli, where Rossi was born in 1935 and where he founded his brand.

In 1951, Rossi, the son of a shoemaker, opened his first store in his hometown, with the first shoes bearing his eponymous brand name produced in 1968.

French luxury fashion group Kering took over the brand in 1999. It then passed into the hands of the Italian private equity fund Investindustrial in 2015, when Rossi had already retired.

His eponymous label also took to social media to pay tribute to the designer, pledging to honour his vision in future collections.

“Today everyone at Sergio Rossi joins me in remembering our dear Sergio, the inspiring founder of our dream," read a statement from the brand's chief executive, Riccardo Sciutto.

"Sergio Rossi was a master, and it is my great honour to have met him and gotten to present him the archive earlier this year. His vision and approach will remain our guide in the growth of the brand and the business.

"He loved women and was able to capture a woman’s femininity in a unique way, creating the perfect extension of a woman’s leg through his shoes. Our long and glorious history started from his incredible vision and we’ll remember his creativity forever."

Rossi's son, Gianvito, is also a shoe designer with his own namesake brand.

Sergio Rossi designs have been worn by the likes of Sienna Miller, Miley Cyrus and Priyanka Chopra.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the brand donated more than $100,000 (Dh367,300) to two of the largest hospitals in Milan.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Updated: April 4, 2020 09:57 AM

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