An artistic and cultural revival began in Italy in the 1960s: the cinema with La Dolce Vita, the birth of modern Italian design and fashion. In this dynamic time, Sergio Rossi crossed paths with Gianni Versace. Both men had inherited an expertise that they would transcend. Both preferred working on volumes to drawing, improving what would later become their signature: the link between body and clothes for the former; the link between body and shoe for the latter.
These common characteristics partially explain their future collaboration, which contributed to the establishment of modern Italian luxury. In 1966, Sergio Rossi began selling his models to shops in Bologna and on the beaches of Rimini. One of these sandals, the Opanca, proved decisive. The design was simple yet daring: the sole gently curved around the foot so as to blend itself with the upper part of the shoe. In 1968, Italy was suddenly confronted by intense social turmoil heralding the armed struggle advocated by extreme left-wing groups. It was thus in the context of a major political crisis that Sergio Rossi signed his first shoes: a name written in block letters, and a logo as simple as a child’s drawing, affixed to a black round-tipped shoe.