Shoe designer and business mogul Vince Camuto reportedly passed away at his home at the age of 78. He was surrounded by his wife, Louise Camuto, and five children, WWD reports.
The iconic women’s footwear designer co-founded Nine West in 1978, and served as its creative director for the next two decades before selling the brand to Jones Apparel Group in 1999. In 2001, the native New Yorker went on to create the Camuto Group, and by 2005 he was launching the signature lines Vince Camuto, VC Signature Vince Camuto, and Louise et Cie. He also collaborated with brands such as BCBG and Tory Burch (he helped to create her signature "Reva" ballet flat, which went on to become a main symbol of the brand).
When it came to women's shoes, Camuto held a wealth of knowledge. In an interview with InStyle last year, he shared the inspiration behind his design process: "Women’s complaints. I started my career as a ladies-shoe salesman and would continually ask customers what they hated about high heels. It was always the same response: Her foot was pitched forward, her toes were hurting, and her heel was slipping."
One of his most notable business relationships was with Jessica Simpson; Camuto teamed up with the star in 2005 to help her build her now $1 billion clothing brand, The Jessica Simpson Collection. “Vince is an inspiration in so many ways. He’s a savvy businessman, he’s a family man and we share a passion about design and great products,” she said last year in an interview with WWD. “We work with every single item in our line four or five times before it hits shelves. That attention to detail is so important, especially as the line continues to grow.”
Simpson paid tribute to Camuto with a post Instagram. The caption read: "Thank you, Vince, for the humble power that has taken me everywhere. You are my mentor, my family, the creator of all my dreams. I will forever walk in your shoes … you made them."
She also included a quote from the man himself, "It is never about one person. It’s the teams you put in place. Without the right people, you’re nowhere."