Sergio Rossi has a new creative director, Francesco Russo. Watch for his first collection for the brand.. it's set to debut fall 2009.

Here's the news via wwd:
The designer will be in charge of women’s and men’s footwear, handbags and accessories, thus controlling all creative aspects of the brand. His predecessor, Edmundo Castillo, was in charge of only women’s footwear design.

Sergio Rossi’s president and chief executive officer, Didier Bonnin, said he was “certain that, with his experience and talent, Francesco Russo will enhance the essence of the brand in all its product categories and will contribute to grow [its] success.”

Russo, who will report to Bonnin, said he felt “honored” to be working for the firm, which he defined as an “historical style icon.” Russo said Sergio Rossi is also “strongly contemporary” and that it “differentiates itself for its artisanal craftsmanship and quality within the Made in Italy luxury world.”

Russo, who studied at Milan’s Marangoni Institute, has designed footwear under Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent since 2000. His previous experience includes stints at Miu Miu and Costume National.

Bonnin thanked the Puerto Rican-born Castillo for his “commitment” and dedication to the development of the brand. Castillo joined Sergio Rossi in 2004 and his contract was up this year.

Gucci Group, drawn to Sergio Rossi’s quality and feminine designs, acquired 70 percent of the brand in 1999, for a reported $96 million, and eventually took full control in 2004. Gucci Group has expanded the company, which now has 70 stores worldwide, and has introduced more comprehensive handbag collections. Sergio Rossi, based in San Mauro Pascoli, Italy, also produces shoes for other brands under the Gucci umbrella. In the past, it has worked on footwear collections for Gianni Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Azzedine Alaïa. Founder Sergio Rossi, who started the company in the Fifties, and his sons, Gianvito and Franco, are no longer involved in the company. Gianvito Rossi launched his own namesake brand for spring 2007.