Franco Fieramosca, Former Gucci and Prada Executive, Dies at 81
Jan 22, 2021
Domenico De Sole, the former president and chief executive officer of Gucci Group and current Tom Ford chairman, said Fieramosca had “incredible knowledge” about footwear. “I worked closely with him and all the merchants at Gucci. When I took the company public, I took all the bankers to see the collection in Florence. All of our showrooms were there and Franco presented the shoes. He did a phenomenal job for us,” De Sole said. He also vividly remembered a trip to Japan with Cristina, Franco and the entire merchant team. “I arrived a day later and everyone was waiting for me. Franco was there in a kimono! They were a great couple.”
Brian Blake, the former president and CEO of Gucci Worldwide who is now a Tom Ford executive, said Fieramosca played a pivotal role in Gucci’s expansion into the U.S. during a time of intense reinvention of the luxury brand. “[Footwear] was new for me, and Franco had all the contacts and understood what the competition was doing. He was key,” Blake said. Fieramosca spent five years expanding Gucci’s presence in American department stores and independent retailers, and he ran his own brand on the side. “It was the only place where I could do whatever I wanted to do. It was a freedom,” he said in 2008. (Fieramosca ended production of his footwear line in 2006.) By 1997, he had become a Prada “fanatic.” Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli met with Fieramosca, and in early 1998 offered him a position liaising between the creative and merchandising departments. In 2004, Fieramosca retired from Prada. For several months he worked on a freelance project for Polo Ralph Lauren, but in less than a year, Bertelli had lured him back to the company, under the condition that he could live and work primarily in the U.S. and forgo a grueling transatlantic travel schedule. After a 10-year stint with Prada — and 48 years in the footwear industry — Fieramosca retired in 2008, the same year he was inducted into the FN Hall of Fame. That honor meant a great deal to him, said Ron Frasch, longtime retail executive and now an operating partner at Castanea Partners. Frasch remembered Fieramosca as a “super kind and thoughtful person.” “We have stayed in touch over the years, and it seemed like he was the one always taking the lead. I was lucky enough to have known him for many years from working with major brands to his entrepreneurial initiatives,” said Frasch. “He was so passionate about footwear and was always a shoe dog’s shoe dog. He will be greatly missed.”
John Ascher, a close friend and former Ralph Lauren executive, called Fieramosca a man of great taste and style. “He was very fair and always showed concern for everyone he worked with,” Ascher said. “He always recognized everyone else for their hard work and contributions.”
In addition to Cristina, Fieramosca is survived by two sons, Marcello and Adriano.