As more designers champion genderless fashion — the movement has been front and center during the Fashion Month collections — luxury shoe veteran Francesco Russo is making a major statement in the footwear world.
The designer has unveiled five key A-Gender styles within his eponymous collection that are available in European sizes 35 to 45. Among them are Russo’s classic high-heeled flame pump and sandal style. In addition, the designer is offering up a loafer, lace-up and Chelsea boot in the extended size range. (Shoppers can visit Russo’s Paris flagship to buy the shoes.)
“Finally, society has accepted that gender [doesn’t dictate what people wear],” Russo said. “I’m a shoemaker who’s responding.” The designer, who sometimes wears heels, said it has always been a struggle to find classic, comfortable options for himself and his friends. His aim is to bring the high-quality designs he is known for to everyone.
The move is significant for the shoe industry and could spark other luxury designers to embrace the genderless movement. Russo said he worked hard to get the proportions correct on the larger heels. “In sizes 42 to 44, the proportions change, so it’s like starting from zero,” he said about the importance of construction.
So far, both a pump and a laceup have been sold in size 44 — and Russo said there has been notable interest in the styles. Breakout model Oslo Grace, who is transgender and nonbinary, stars in a look book celebrating the new collection. In the images, she wears nothing but the shoes.