This obituary is a part of a sequence about individuals who have died within the coronavirus pandemic.
As an adolescent, Sergio Rossi and his brother, the sons of a bespoke shoemaker, would journey up and down the Italian Riviera promoting footwear within the years after World War II, because the nation was rebuilding.
Mr. Rossi absolutely joined the household enterprise within the 1950s and by 1968 had launched a namesake line, turning into one of many first main figures within the Italian footwear business
Mr. Rossi died on Thursday in Cesena, Italy at 84. The trigger was the coronavirus, a spokeswoman for the corporate that carries his title stated.
Mr. Rossi was a part of the era of Italian artisans who emerged after World War II decided to take the nation’s experience in leatherwork and equipment from native household companies to the world.
He was recognized for his completely balanced, albeit typically spindly, heels in addition to types just like the Opanca sandal, with a sole that curved up the edges to mix in with the foot, and his signature Godiva stiletto,
He was also among the first footwear specialists to lend his talents to ready-to-wear designers, collaborating with names like Versace and Dolce & Gabbana to create the footwear for their collections. Each Sergio Rossi shoe was famous for requiring 120 steps and 14 hours to make.
In a video post on Facebook on Friday, Mayor Luciana Garbuglia of San Mauro Pascoli, an Italian shoemaking center near Cesena on the Adriatic coast, where Mr. Rossi was born and lived, noted that Mr. Rossi had opened a production facility in the town in 1951 that has became a major source of jobs.
Mr. Rossi was born in 1935 and learned his trade from his father.
As a major designer, he reached global prominence in the 1970s in part through his work with the upstart designer Gianni Versace. The way Mr. Rossi’s sensuous heels complemented Mr. Versace’s clothes elevated shoes to an integral part of a look, as opposed to an afterthought.
Mr. Rossi, who opened his first store in San Mauro in 1980, also worked with Dolce & Gabbana and Azzedine Alaïa in the 1980s and ’90s. Over the next two decades he continued to expand in Europe and America, and his son, Gianvito, came to work at his side.
In 1999, during the flurry of consolidation among fashion brands that laid the groundwork for the modern luxury industry, Gucci Group (later Kering) bought the Sergio Rossi brand for approximately $96.2 million; Mr. Rossi remained as chairman and design director, though both he and his son later left the business. His son now has his own line under his name.
Kering sold the Rossi brand in 2015 to the private equity company Investindustrial, which relaunched Sergio Rossi the following year.
“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,” Riccardo Sciutto, the shoe company’s chief executive, said of Mr. Rossi in an Instagram post.
The company has preserved his legacy with an archive of sketches and documents in their San Mauro facility, along with shoes, lasts and other accessories. Thus far, it has 6,000 items.