Shoemaking at Rossimoda footwear factory

The art of manufacturing luxury women's shoes for the most prestigious international brands

Rossimoda video (From 2000 to 2010)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi

Behind-the-scenes: the different stages of creating shoes at the Rossimoda shoe factory

Narciso Rossi's photography (1945/1945)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


Rossimoda is one of the most important shoe factories of the Riviera del Brenta district in Italy.  

Footwear from the Shoe Museum collection, Federica Bottoli, 1995/1995, From the collection of: Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi
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Rossimoda timeline

1947 Narciso Rossi starts to produce shoes by himself.

1956 Rossimoda shoe factory was led, since 1956, by the son of Narciso Rossi, Luigino, helped by the brothers Dino and Diego. After a beginning characterized by an artisan production, Luigino Rossi had the opportunity to spread thank to Charles Jourdan, who held the licence for the production of Christian Dior shoes. This particular occasion encouraged the future success of Rossimoda.

1961 Luigino Rossi and other entrepreneurs joined their forces and founded the A.C.Ri.B association (Consorzio Maestri Calzaturieri del Brenta). The aim of the Association was, as it's today, to represent the shoemakers of Venice and Padua.

1963 Luigino Rossi signes his first licence agreement with the young Yves Saint Laurent, out of Dior atelier and at the start of his illustrious adventure. The profitable collaboration between Rossimoda and the French brand lasted for 38 years, from 1963 to 2000.

2003 LVMH group acquires both Rossimoda factory and Villa Foscarini Rossi. The financial group has embraced the responsability to go on with the cultural and business mission started by Luigino Rossi. He is now honorary chairman of Rossimoda and is still playing an active role in the promotion of the district and the dissemination of the ancient shoemaking craft.

Rossimoda sketch (1980s)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


The shoe factory and the creative research (2000s)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


Through the creative research, the shoe factory has to deal with the complex relation with the houses, balancing different needs and demands, among which: the artist's creative effort, which has to be free from encumbrances; the economically competitive industrial feasibility; the product saleability. The end product, indeed, must be wearable, manufacturable and attractive for the market.

The model maker (2000s)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


The designer takes care of the product development.

The model makers' department (2000s)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


The designer department is resposable for the product development. The departement has to deal with the brand' directions, the fashion trends and the materials.

The design on the mould (2000s)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


The last is a foundamental tool in shoemaking, as the shape of the foot is transposed on it. The design of the item can be reproduced on the last, whose toe can be adapted on the basis of the type of shoe.

The technological elaboration (2000s)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


Informatics and new technologies, such as graphic and design software, are now part and parcel of shoemaking.

The leathers (2000s)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


To obtain a high quality product, materials have to be chosen and tested very carefully. For instance, prestigious leathers have to be at the same time flexible and compact; furthermore, they must show their own characteristics.

The cut (2000s)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


The cut is a very important step of shoemaking, even though complex. In particular, when leathers are handled, the cut can be a very delicate process since it deals with the natural imperfections of the material and its different physical proprieties.

The trimming (2000s)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


During the stitching the pieces of the upper are sewn and assembled together.

The assembly (2000s)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


Through this step, the different parts of the shoe (the upper, the insole, the bottom stock and the heel) are eventually set up. Symmetry and wearability need to be always taken into consideration during the assembly.

The finishing (2000s)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


The finishing is extremely important in high quality shoemaking. Depending on the type of footwear, the finishing is made up of different phases such as, for example, the cleaning and the polishing of leather.

The packing (2000s)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


Finally, shoes are carefully wrapped with tissue paper and packed.

Sandal (1985/1985)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi


The shoes produced by Rossimoda footwear factory always combine high quality craft, technology, precious materials and design. Moreover shoes production testifies the evolution of style and fashion.

Low-cut shoe with strap (1958/1958)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi

Mary Jane

This type of footwear, known as Mary Jane, was born in the 16th century and it was initially used just for children. Its name comes from the little sister of "Buster Brown", a comic bubble by Richard F. Outcault appeared for the first time on the New York Herald in 1902.

The Mary Jane model was widespread during the 1920s: they were worn by the so-called flappers, non-conformist women whose style was lively and young.

Court shoe (1988/1988)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi

Anni '50

"New Look" Court Shoe

The shape of this court shoe is inspired by the New Look, in vogue since the 1950s. "New Look" is the name given to Christian Dior's iconic collection made in 1947, which modernised women's fashion right after World War II.

The stiletto heel was born during those years, when War was finally over and women were looking for glamorous footwear, encouraged to regain the beauty ritual they had to quit during the War. At the beginning of the 1950s, heels were not so high as they were made in wood and therefore too fragile.

Although this shoe was inspired by 1950s footwear shape, it was created during the excessive 1980s, as suggested by the rich decoration with glass, beads and sequins.

Leg-hugging boot (1963/1963)Museo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi

Anni '70

Boot with fringes

The fringes, in vogue during the 1970s, were used by hippie groups to show convey their support to the Native American's cause, whose typical clothing had fringes.


More than 1500 examples of luxury women's shoes, all manufactured by Rossimoda footwear factory, are dispayed at Villa Foscarini Rossi Shoe Museum. The Museum is located in Stra (Venice), within a magnificent seventeenth century Veneto Villa by the Brenta River. The exhibition traces the progress of the company over the years, testifying the local skills and knowledge of the Riviera del Brenta shoemaking district. It also highlights the evolution of fashion in the second half of the nineteenth century, through that one accessory, the shoe. Among the iconic items displayed in the Museum, there are: Marc by Marc Jacobs’s little mices, Fendi’s suspended heels, some shoes made by Roger Vivier for Christian Dior, Kenzō’s architectural footwear, Christian Lacroix’ red heels, Donna Karan’s wedges with stalactites, Porsche Design’s car shoes with the sole that reminds the tread of the Pirelli P6 tyre. A precious collection of 18th and 19th century Venetian footwear is also on show.

Foscarini building in Stra (1709/1709) by Vincenzo Maria CoronelliMuseo della Calzatura di Villa Foscarini Rossi

Villa Foscarini Rossi Shoe Museum timeline

The Venetian nobleman, Jacopo Foscarini, completed the renovation of a country house on the banks of the River Brenta, in order to spend a peaceful old age, after distinguishing himself at the Battle of Corfu (1572).

Foscarini family completed the decoration of the guest house, entrusting it with prestigious artists such as the Brescian Domenico de' Bruni and the Paduan Pietro Liberi.

The Shoe Museum opened to the public.

The Yves Saint Laurent collection

Produced from 1963 to 2000.
Yves Saint Laurent was born in Oran, in the French Algeria, the 1st of August 1936. In the family Villa, settled on the Mediterranean sea, he started, since childhood, to draw dresses for his mother and sisters. Once adult, he moved to Paris and met Christian Dior, starting a collaboration lasted from 1954 to 1958. In January 1962, helped by the colleague and partner Pierre Bergé, he lauched his first personal collection, obtaining great success. The collections were inspired by history, art, literature and Yves Saint Laurent's passion for the theatre. He managed to cleverly combine opulent fabrics, unusual ideas and ethnic colours with precision. His style stands out for its trembling perseverance and cheeky bravery, key factors to set his success and importance, not only in fashion but also in society. He died in Paris the 1st of June 2008.

The Christian Dior collection

Casual labour, from 1960 to 1963.
Christian Dior was born in Granville in 1905. Tailor and stylist of the most important French haute couture, he became famous for the New Look, which on the 12th of February 1947 made him famous all over the world in only one day. To decide his fate was the meeting with Marcel Boussac, the French textile magnate. In 1946, thanks to Boussac’s financial support, Dior opened his own maison in Avenue Montaigne palace, a charming location where twice a year were produced dresses up to 40 meters wide and 4 kilos heavy. In 1958 "Trapezoid" collection had Yves Saint Laurent’s sign, who was Dior’s assistant and his coming heir, opening his own maison in 1962. Talking about shoes, the maison’s collaboration with the French fashion stylist Roger Vivier, from 1953 to 1963, was fundamental: the shoes exposed in these cases of the Shoe Museum are some examples of this partnership.

The Kenzō collection

Produced from 2004 to 2013.
The artist Kenzō Takada, after his education at Tokyo fashion school, came to Paris in 1965 and only five years later he opened his first boutique. Shapes, materials and drawings typical of Japan are harmoniously mixed with the European style, joining the approval of the whole world of fashion. In 1999, at the age of sixty years Kenzō announced farewell to fashion, in order to give "a new direction to his life". The fashion house belongs to the LVMH Group since 1993.

The Emilio Pucci collection

Produced since 2001 and still in production.
Emilio Pucci's first approach to the fashion world was unexpected: in 1947 Pucci was photographed in Zermatt while he was wearing a ski tracksuit made by himself. The success was immediate and he was soon invited to create women's winter clothes to sale in New YorK. His models stand out for the beautiful and colourful patterned fabrics. In 1949 he made his debut in Capri with a sea collection inspired by the colours and the Mediterranean atmosphere of the island, although "fisherman" pants were the most successful items of the collection. In 1954 he received the Neiman Marcus Award, as best designer of the year. Ante litteram inventor of the total look , Pucci has designed accessories and all kinds of objects, drawing, in 1971, even the emblem of the NASA.

The Givenchy collection

Produced from 1973 to 1988, again from 2001 and still in production.
The brand was created by the French designer Hubert de Givenchy (born in 1927). He became famous for his style characterized by simplicity, rigorous grace, always combined with a bit of imagination and eccentricity. The meeting with Audrey Hepburn has been very important for Givenchy, who chose her as main muse. Through the artistic contribution of the several creative directors who have succeeded the brand's direction over the years, the muse Audrey Hepburn has been reinterpreted in different time periods and sensitivities, from the most traditional to the most transgressive ones.

The Fendi collection

Produced from 1991 to 2000.
Fendi is one of the first “Made in Italy” brand which became famous in the world, especially for the renovation of the fur, making it a fashion item. The brand was born in 1925 in Rome in a small furs and bags shop. In 1930 the founders Edoardo and Adele Fendi developed the activity, but the brand reached the fame thanks to the five daughters Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla and Alda. In 1965 they created the double “F” logo and the collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld started. In 1969 the designer gave prominence to the “F” motive, and made the fur more wearable; moreover, he created new and more functional bags and shoes. In 1987, with the third generation, born the “Fendissime” line conceived for a younger audience. During the years the production has been extended with other items as sunglasses, watches, beachwear and home accessories.
Since October 1999 the maison belongs to LVMH Group.

The Donna Karan collection

Produced from 2005 to 2012. The brand was founded by the American designer Donna Faske, who started her career working in New York for the fashion house Klein & Co. In 1974, after the unexpected death of the owner, Donna became the artistic director of the maison. In 1984 she founded her own namesake brand, proposing the “seven easy pieces” concept: a wardrobe with only few interchangeable items of clothing that perfectly fit the everyday needs of a contemporary woman who is, at the same time, mother, worker, lover, friend.

The Marc by Marc Jacobs collection

Produced from 2002 to 2014. Marc Jacobs, born in New York in 1963, debuted in the fashion world in 1986 although in 1998 he proved to be one of the most brilliant American designers thanks to a breath-taking fashion show in a huge car park. Considered as a great new talent, in 1997 Marc Jacobs became the artistic director of Louis Vuitton, designing a women’s clothing line for a willful and confident working woman.

The Porche Design collection

Produced from 1978 to 2005.
Luigino Rossi, honorary chairman of Rossimoda shoe factory, met Ferdinand Alexander Porsche during a fashion show by Yves Saint Laurent in Paris. Thanks to this friendship, in 1977 they decided to create a new line of unisex shoes, suitable for the spare time but mainly for driving cars. Ferdinand A. Porche designed the first sketches of the shoes, still displayed in the Museum. The sporty design, the great attention to details as well as the comfort, guaranteed the success of these shoes which every year, from 1978 to 2003, were proposed again changing just colours and materials.

The Anne Klein collection

Produced from 1968 to 1979.
Anne Klein is the brand founded by Hanna Golofski (1921-1974), who is internationally considered as the pioneer of feminine sportswear thanks to her women’s practical sporty clothes suitable for every time and occasions. In 1968, the designer created the Anne Klein & Co. When Hanna Golofski died, the brand was led by Donna Karan, Louis Dell’Olio and Richard Tyler.

Vera Wang collection

Produced from 1994 to 2002.
Vera Wang is the well-known American fashion designer who creates the amazing wedding and ceremony dresses for American upper classes. She stared working as fashion editor for Vogue America and, after 16 years, she left her job at the prestigious magazine to became the artistic director of Ralph Lauren. In 1990 Vera Wang opened her first showroom at the Carlyle Hotel of New York. Several actresses (such as Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman, Charlize Theron) have fallen in love with her refined and elegant style, so much that they wore her dresses during Oscar night.

Calvin Klein collection

Produced from 1999 to 2005.
Calvin Klein is an American designer well-known for his simple shapes, clear style and natural dyes soberly coloured. His style excels thanks to very clear lines, which inspire the American look. In the 1970s, Calvin Klein launched the K jeans, the first designer jeans that brought popularity to the brand. Calvin Klein’s jeans became soon iconic fashion items also thanks to the advertising campaign linked to the sensual image of the young Brooke Shields. The designer has been always able to understand the time he was living and modern women’s desires, translating them into clothes and accessories.

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