Interview: Gianvito Rossi On Stilettos, Starting Out In Fashion Design And His Exclusive Middle East Capsule Collection

BY Milli Midwood / Mar 31 2019 / 17:46 PM

The Italian footwear designer stopped by BAZAAR to answer our questions ahead of the release of 3 new styles exclusively at Bloomingdale's and Harvey Nichols - Dubai

Interview: Gianvito Rossi On Stilettos, Starting Out In Fashion Design And His Exclusive Middle East Capsule Collection
Gianvito Rossi

The UAE have long been lovers of Gianvito Rossi, who counts A-list fans including Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman and Kendall Jenner amongst his clientele. This season, the iconic footwear designer has created three exclusive styles, which can be found at Harvey Nichols - Dubai and Bloomingdale's Dubai, which all boast an on-trend leopard print finish and come in variety of Rossi's signature silhouettes, so there's a design to match every outfit. The 'Evie Sandal' a timeless lingerie-inspired design, perfect for eveningwear; the 'Allegra' serves up all the sporty chic vibes; and the 'Plexi Pump' completes a sleek workwear look. We caught up with the founder and creative director himself to chat stilettots, SS/19 and starting out in fashion...

Harper's BAZAAR Arabia: How would you describe the Gianvito Rossi woman?
Gianvito Rossi: A strong-minded woman who expresses herself through her style rather than hides behind it. She dresses in a feminine yet confident way and is a woman with a strong character.

HBA: Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your latest pieces, available exclusively at Harvey Nichols - Dubai and Bloomingdale's Dubai.
GR: During the spring/summer season, bright colours become very important to set the mood - tones like yellow and light blue can be interesting. The silhouette should be simple, matched with a strong colour, and it’s a trend I think will extend to boots next fall. Leopard-print was an attractive design for me in this collection; I like how it’s uber-feminine because the feline represents such a soft, silent and subtle way of moving, but with a dangerous edge.

HBA: Why did you decide to design exclusive pieces for the Middle East? What makes this region special?
GR: There is such a glamorous social scene here, and going out is an important activity, so we wanted to give the women in the market something special.

HBA: Do you have a pair of shoes that’s really special to you?
GR: The pointy pump stiletto is probably my most iconic silhouette - I love it. 

HBA: Do you think stilettos change a woman’s mood and presence?
GR: I think by wearing a stiletto you definitely show some part of your personality. Wearing trainers, your mood and approach to the world changes. But in this era what’s great is that women are free to choose the shoes they wear, depending on the day.

HBA: How do you design your shoes to be stylish without compromising on comfort and practicality?
GR: It’s all about the small details. You have to test a lot and pay attention to the subtle details, which make a huge difference to comfort, but that don’t influence the design. The touchpoint of the heel, for example, is an important area we bear in mind.

The Evie Sandal, available exclusively at Harvey Nichol's - Dubai

HBA: Should we dress from the feet up, choosing our footwear first?
GR: No, I don’t think so. First, choose a piece you love. It could be a shirt, a dress, a necklace. Then find what matches with it. I think shoes are important though, because they’re on display to everyone. 

The Plexi Pump, available exclusively at Bloomingdale's Dubai

HBA: What are the similarities and differences between designing for women and men?
GR: The biggest similarity is your taste, angle and perception of what’s going on around you, which remain a constant. The difference is that designing for women tends to be more interesting, since women are keener to experiment with different shapes and outfits, whereas options for men have always been more limited.

The Allegra, available at Harvey Nichols - Dubai

HBA: What’s your advice to someone thinking of starting their own business in fashion design?
GR: If you’re aiming for quality, you have to have a strong know-how. It’s essential that you know what you’re talking about in terms of how things are made. Define your identity, your key element…establish the pillar of your personality and stay true to it.

HBA: If you could design a bespoke pair of shoes for any celebrity, dead or alive, who would it be?
GR: I would have loved the chance to design something for Marilyn Monroe. She was so feminine, but her outfits were always very elegant and pure. But I have already had the pleasure of making shoes for some very important people. 

The Allegra, Rossi Pump and Evie Sandal by Gianvito Rossi are available exclusively at Harvey Nichols - Dubai and Bloomingdale's Dubai.