An inventive cobbler with a taste for tradition, Francesco Russo traces his passion for ultra-feminine shoes back to childhood. “I was looking at my mother and my sisters getting dresses – he recalls – As soon as they wore heels, they immediately turned into magnificent creatures”.
A successful career in shoe design ensued.
Born in the southern Italian region of Puglia in 1974, Russo honed his skills in Milano, first at Costume National, where he worked on the shoes, bags and accessories lines between 1996 and 1998, in what was a pivotal moment for the edgy Italian label, then at Miu Miu, where he served as shoe designer under the creative direction of Fabio Zambernardi between 1998 and 2000.
Talent got him under the spot, and in 2000 Russo relocated Paris to join the house of Yves Saint Laurent, then under huge revamp projects. Working alongside both Tom Ford and Stefano Pilati, Russo contributed to the global success of the brand.
Following an idea of shoes as both architectural object and seduction tools, Russo created a bunch of iconic pieces which turned right away into must have items: the kittenish Cherry Sandals and the exotic Chinese Lacquered Wedge under Tom Ford are just an example of his knack for fashionable desire, but it was the St Germain and Jeanne loafers, Tribute and Tribtoo and finally the graphic and commanding Cage Boots created under Pilati that made Yves Saint Laurent a go-to labels for statement footwear.
With his uniquely extreme yet utterly refined taste Russo mixes precise lines, flamboyant invention and sex-appeal into creations that have a deep evocative power. So much so, in fact, that in 2008 he was named creative director at Sergio Rossi, which under his tenure flourished into a fully-fledged global phenomenon. Here, Russo continued along the hi-octane path initiated at Yves Saint Laurent, creating intricate and seducing shoes while adding body pieces to the whole image. Cachet, Marmaide, Vague ChiChi are among the memorable items he created, all characterized by the highest level of craft.
Taking a bold leap, in September 2013 Russo went solo, launching his eponymous label.
He chose an unorthodox angle and focused on just a few timeless shapes. By opting for creative rhythms which are more in synch with true invention, Russo now skips the idea of the collection, as well as that of the succession of seasons, to create objects that celebrate beauty. He made his atelier at n.8 of Rue de Valois the centre of his idea of extreme luxury that for Francesco is the total attention to the client’s desires.
This extraordinary attention to the feminine personal universe is perfectly embodied in the two main services provided in the atelier, respectively launched in 2014 and 2016: Made To Order (the unique opportunity to order custom version – including materials and colours- of each shoe Francesco designed) and the Patina (an hand dyeing process for the shoe, that from unfinished crust leather allow the customer to choose within different colours).
With the expansion of selling points of his creations around the world and in perfect respect of his philosophy of luxury as real proximity, Francesco begun from late 2013 to now a non-stop world tour to directly meet his clients, and to present the Made to Order and the Patina experiences. These events since now have taken place in Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, New York, Dubai and Toronto.