Stilettos pack a lot of power in a shoe – they elevate your posture, transform your stride, and for some, there’s something inexplicably empowering about the extra inches added to your frame. For all the power and sex-appeal they exude, they can be unforgiving on your feet, and your level of comfort while wearing these shoes almost entirely depends on the hands of the maker.
For luxury shoe designer Gianvito Rossi, making his signature stilettos comfortable for the wearer comes down to two things: mindful construction and his singular vision of uplifting the woman wearing them. “I think that the client who approaches my designs sees that the shoes are made for them, not for my own ego. I want to show you yourself, but the best version of yourself,” the designer shared, at the launch of his Singaporean flagship store at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Rather than follow every trend or make pompous statement pieces, the footwear maestro fixes his attention on the real needs and wants of his customers, as attested by his legion of celebrity fans who laud his shoes for their comfort and elegance.
Why else would so many of his classic designs remain red-carpet favourites season after season? In a world where women are often pinned with the expectation to be perfectly coifed at all times, there’s something comforting about Mr. Gianvito’s desire to bring to women beautiful, luxurious, and comfortable shoes that were made with them in mind. Here, he speaks with Bazaar about his design philosophy, his new store, and the art of making stilettos comfortable.
What are the elements that go into the making of a perfect stiletto?
There are so many elements. It seems so simple, but even if you take a simple pump, the most classic cut, it’s geometrically complex. The shape and proportions are everything. From the last, which gives the shoe shape, to the stiletto itself, it’s all important. It’s a combination of all the elements, and it’s a very delicate balance.
What are some traits and characteristics that set your shoes apart?
From my point of view and with the key points of my aesthetic, I always want to design shoes that are very feminine, elegant, and modern. These qualities remain even in different categories of shoes, from evening-wear to the day shoes or shoes with a more casual attitude. I always get these values in. Femininity, obviously, means a shoe that highlights that side of a woman’s personality. So, it’s delicate, and it’s never harsh. Elegance is in the way you interpret a style. Instead of being too evident, too bright, or too blatant, elegant shoes are more sophisticated or subtle.
What do you think women today want in a shoe?
I think the shoe is a very special item. It’s a very special accessory for women, and it’s a very personal choice. There’s also a little bit of more freedom in shoes than there is in ready-to-wear. In ready-to-wear, you have plenty of options, of course, but freedom might be a little more limited. With a shoe, in terms of the shape, or the kind of shoe, you can express more and you can do something that is more you. You can even express the mood you are in. They are so tied to your body that they are almost like underwear, but of course, everybody can see them. They are intimate. And I think that with a shoe, a woman really wants to find herself in a specific mood. It can be elegant, sexy, or very outgoing. But she wants to express herself, really.
How do you strive to deliver that for the woman?
I make designs that don’t overwhelm the woman’s personality. I want to exalt women, instead of hiding their personalities behind elements of the creation that are too loud, like big embroideries or other things like that, because that’s a way to shield yourself. When you’re not confident in yourself, you shield yourself with all these designs. But I think if you wear something nice that exalts your silhouette and your personality, then you feel confident, and you don’t need all the elements to hide yourself anymore.
How does this Singapore flagship store fit into your larger vision for the Gianvito Rossi brand?
In terms of the concept of the store, I came up with it with a female architect in Milan. I wanted to give this space a combination of two elements – modernity, and the soft and warm atmosphere. I felt like it’s more feminine than some very modern concepts with hard shape, that are colder. So, I wanted to create this combination of modernity and warmth. I wanted to create a better space, to welcome you more, to let you feel more at home. Like you’re in your house, in your room, or in your dressing room.
Visit the Gianvito Rossi Flagship Boutique at B1-86/87, Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands