He has worked for Miu Miu, Sergio Rossi and created the Tribute shoe at Yves Saint Laurent – Francesco Russo was recently in Dubai to launch his label at Level Shoe District. The interesting thing is Francesco’s shoes are incredibly rare to find – it’s all about quality and handpicked stores. I spoke to the designer on his thoughts of the Middle East, how he got into designing shoes and his Parisian hangouts.
Hi Francesco, is it your first time in Dubai? What are your thoughts on the Middle East?
I came in Dubai ten years ago while going in Maldives. It is unbelievable to see how has changed. I am impressed to see and feel the dynamism of this city so far
How did you get into footwear?
I started to be fascinated by woman’s shoes since the age of 7. My mother used to be a seamstress and as child I use to be next to her while she would fit the close on her clients. The last fitting, when the client would put on her high heel shoes to define the length, it was magical for me. The woman was transforming, her movement were lighter. It was like seeing a cocoon transforming into a butterfly. This fascination never left me.
Who is the Francesco Russo woman?
I grow up in south of Italy were the woman still today is the center of the family. My mother is and will always be a center figure for me. Woman with this strength, that are not simply an object of desire are the Francesco Russo woman.
Your shoes are incredibly exclusive, and sold in very few places. Why is that?
With my own Brand I wanted to redefine the idea of luxury which to me represent, beside other factor, something you dream of. I also wanted be fully and personally dedicated to create an universe for my own collection from the design to the selection of places that would carry our product, to the final connection with the customer as I do in my atelier in Paris. Having few doors and expanding little by little allowed me to do that. I think fashion today moves at lighting speed with a rate of expansion that does not allow the process to be personal anymore. And this intimacy is crucial for me because it is the only way I can better understand my clients, the woman who wears my shoes and consequentially to improve my work season by season.
Why is Level Shoe District a place you want to be present in?
Because Level is the Temple for Luxury in Dubai
You’ve worked with brands such as YSL and Sergio Rossi. What did you learn that you wanted to do differently within your brand?
Any brand I worked for in my past experience has been a fundamental building stone to who I am and what I know today about shoe making. My brand represents for me the roof of this building where my entire thoughts and beliefs can be expressed.
What styles are we looking at for SS15?
I am more attracted by the idea of timeless pieces rather than seasonal. My collections each season represents a consecution of ideas in the sense of style that I intend to express through my shoes. Any season we add new models that respond more to the need of our clients for that specific season than to create a seasonal trend. My aim is to create models that live beyond the idea of trends.
What are 3 of your favourite Parisian Hotspots?
Fondation Louis Vuitton to admire the impeccable work of Frank Gehry, Muji Japanese restaurant for the most amazing sushi and fois gras and my own store of course.
Lastly, other than your trip to Dubai – what are you currently working on?
We are working on a potential expansion in new markets such as South Korea and Indonesia.