Sergio Rossi FW2011-12 in Milan


“Become your best self, but keep playing,” is SERGIO ROSSI’s dictum for the Fall Winter 2011-2012 collection by Creative Director, Francesco Russo.

During a visit to the Arena at Nîmes in the summer of 2010, Russo experienced an aesthetic shock wave inspiring fantastic thoughts. He imagined a dramatic ball where the urge to be noticed is matched by the desire to be guarded, a touch of eccentricity in a world where dreams are as intensely colored as night birds.

“One protects one’s self by disguise,” says Russo, and the shoe as always is his emblematically seductive weapon. “For me, the chrysalis symbolizes supreme femininity. I tried to evoke metamorphoses from the most natural to the most urban; from the most animal to the most sophisticated.”

The night butterfly was joined by the Venetian Carnival mask manifesting itself in two-toned silk satin or leather; a tribal ornament; the promise of being seen but not seen; a super-colored flash of fetish. A tribute to the Commedia dell’ Arte; a theatre filled with wonderful characters whose roles are depicted by the masks they wear. These same masks subject reality to triumphant chance making the imagination whirl. A playful spirit reigns with clever lines drawn in black mini-suns and polka dots. The mundane is reinvented by swirling acrobatic pirouettes engineering feats glorifying sensual desires pushed to their limits. The instep is cloaked in a mask. Reveling in the dark of night, the shoes conjure memories of “Eyes Wide Shut.”

Ankles have eyes at SERGIO ROSSI. A flat, monochromatic Harlequin boot composed of suede and snakeskin diamond shapes take rises in the black of night aglow in the moonlight. Ruffles, petticoats and rosettes. Now, let the party begin! Immersed in the fanciful universe of nature as wunderkammer, the caterpillar becomes a butterfly and buds blossom into flowers. The language of seduction indulges in the extreme sensuality of a fantastic garden brimming with pleated flaring boots. High heels are poised to strut like proud birds. The imagination follows the line of the instep in all its glorified finery. Inspired by the spiral of a coiled ammonite fossil, the bend of a weeping willow and the stem of a showy anthurium plant, exaggerated alluring shapes are those never before been seen in shoes. Sitting atop a thorn-less stemmed heel, or reinforced by golden honeycombs, the shoe transforms itself surviving and thriving in this haunted garden. Twists, pleats and spirals become masks of lace or leather finery alternating between an evening sandal, an ankle boot, a high boot and even a sandal-boot. The spirit of fashion sublimely prevails in silk taffeta heralding the shoe as the new finery, a breastplate or velvet underbelly with a pinned jewel on the instep.

“Black gives strength. It is the keystone of any color combination and what makes everything stronger,” Russo explains. Black traces the contour of the foot like eyeliner. Gold, triangular flats recall the glamorous 80s of Studio 54 and the Palace when appearances made for new meaning. Peacock blue and electric green, lipstick red and bright fuchsia clash with bare flesh flashing on a dance floor pulsing with renewed energy and imagination.

To present the Fall Winter 2011-12 collection in a unique setting, the SERGIO ROSSI showroom has been transformed into a sensory theater divided in two rooms. The first exhibits the main body of the collection installed with photographic images by Johan Sandberg as back drops. In the ante room, ten, flat screen, high definition filmic explorations will play by curatorial talking head, Alexander Fury, Fashion Director of Nick Knight's award-winning website

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