5 Minutes With Shoe Designer Gianvito Rossi
Did you always know that you’d design shoes? If you didn’t follow in your father’s footsteps, what would you have done instead?
It’s always been part of my life, it felt natural and was not something I chose, it was just my life. I worked alongside my father until he sold the company and for the first time I found myself not working on shoes.
That’s when I realized what shoes meant to me, and that my life is about making shoes. It’s my way to express myself and talk to the world. Then it became my choice and I chose to make my own line. But if I wasn’t a designer, maybe I would have been a sailor. Who knows?
How can you tell if a shoe is of good quality and fit?
High heels will never be really comfortable, but they definitely shouldn’t be painful. When you try shoes on, walk on the ground and not a carpet because the heel sinks into the carpet and changes the shape and stability. It’s very important that your foot touches the entire sole of the shoe.
Do you think the definition of 'sexy' has changed over the years?
We went from the idea of sexy, which is fragile—the idea of a woman who can barely walk—to an idea of sexiness where she stands firmly in her shoes and you admire her.
People used to talk about Cinderella shoes, but now, it’s about Wonder Woman. What does a Wonder Woman shoe look like for you?
I see a bootie. I think booties show power and it’s a shoe that works the whole day in the city. A mid-height heel empowers you to feel ready to face the day. With a stiletto you need to know where you’re going, but with a bootie, you feel ready to go anywhere.
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The Plexi pump has become one of your signatures—where did that idea come from?
I was looking into the concept of modernity and I wanted to make something very light. The idea of transparency, like glass, is a key part of modern architecture and also conveys sexiness; to be able to see through to the skin.
Was there concern that the material would be hard to work with or uncomfortable for the wearer?
No, actually a nice characteristic of the PVC is that as it warms up to your body, it adjusts to it.
When it’s cold on the shelf it might feel a bit firm, but if you thumb the sides to give it heat, you’ll see that it adjusts. On the other hand, it’s very different from leather so it needs to be specifically created and fitted.
You recently started a menswear line—are they easier to design for, maybe because you can try your own designs?
Yes, I can finally try my own shoes! It’s very different because women are more experimental in the way they dress, while men are more conservative. Even with sneakers, they often default to white shoes, so the space to design is limited if you want to make something long-lasting.
The pool of fashionable men is getting wider, but in terms of rules, I feel it’s more strict.
How do you want your brand to be known and remembered?
I want to see my clients make happy memories in my shoes, because a shoe is a very special part of an outfit.
I think we have a special relationship with shoes compared to, say, a shirt. And I hope my shoes can be associated with someone's fond memories. In a way, you feel like what’s happening depends on the shoes you wear.
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