When an established Italian brand like Fratelli Rossetti arrives with its first store in Kuwait, we take notice. CEO Luca Rossetti, youngest son of founder Renzo Rossetti, flew in for the official opening and graciously offered to spend some time in the Arraya Centre boutique with bazaar. Luca sits down, and with absolutely no need for it, humbly apologizes for his English – which is excellent, but delightfully accented. I immediately look to his shoes which, of course, are Rossetti, an elegant black moccasin and in wonderful condition.
I know this is your first visit but, have you had much of a chance to get an impression of Kuwait?
As the plane approached I saw the Kuwait Towers and it is such a beautiful view – I took many pictures. I am impressed with the Kuwaiti people; they are so stylish. Someone told me about this, but I saw for myself and it’s true. I find the people very trendy and fashionable here, just like Milan!
It’s coming up to 65 years now – are you doing anything to celebrate?
We are making a few plans but actually my father Renzo really started in 1949. He worked for another shoe factory and then on Saturdays and Sundays he would come in to work for himself. There were no official employers after the war, everything was made in the black market. He started doing ice skating shoes, bike shoes, football shoes. And the name of the company was Yankee, he chose a British name because it was more trendy. Later his brother, Renato, joined him and the fratelli (brothers) worked together as Fratelli Rossetti.
With traditional shoe making you have the workmanship of artisanal craftsman. What do you do as an organization and business to ensure that you maintain the skills of these artisans?
We collaborate in our area with local schools but the most important thing is to pass on to the younger generation these skills. They are passed on from father to son, and employers teach apprentices their artisanal secrets. Being a family business helps us as we take all the know-how from our father, so we understand how important it is to have this fluid exchange of knowledge.
Tradition is important in luxury but success goes hand in hand with innovation. How does Fratelli Rossetti innovate?
We are working very closely with different designers. Our role is to find the balance between new ideas and the DNA of the brand. Customers here will be pleased to know that we have an exclusive shoe to the Fratelli Rossetti store here – which they can only get at the store in the Arraya Centre and nowhere else in the world!
If you could have anyone in the world wear your shoes who would it be?
For us the most important thing is that the ordinary customer wears our shoes. People who are modern and want a shoe that goes well and is comfortable – basically people who appreciate quality. We are a niche brand and we like to showcase our history quietly and not be over-the-top with celebrity endorsements for example. You know, in a way it is a good thing that Fratelli Rossetti shoes aren’t easy to find, because it’s a discerning customer that will find and wear our shoes. We have three boutiques in the GCC in total, but this is our first in Kuwait, and we’re very happy to be here!
Of the new collection available in Kuwait, which is your favorite shoe and why?
The loafer with tassels: The Brera (which is named after a street in Italy)! Our father was the first to ever import these tassels from the United States. In the 1970s, we gave the shoes to the Milanese soccer team but they refused to wear them since, to them, the shoes were too frivolous. But Gianni Rivera, the team’s most important player and Golden Ball winner of the time, gladly wore the Brera. He was referred to as the ‘Golden Boy,’ because he was so trendy and was the first team member to wear this shoe. The Brera then became famous and it has become our icon, and every season we change a slight detail to it. This is why the Brera is my favorite of the collection here.
Fratelli Rosseti is located on the ground floor of the Arraya Center. For more information, please call 2299 7672.