Friday, January 18

Roger Vivier

Shoe designer Roger Vivier

Known as the “Fabergé of footwear,” Roger Vivier created some of the most important shoes of the mid-20th century, first as designer for Christian Dior when Dior opened a shoe department in 1953. During the 1950s Vivier invented the stiletto heel, imitating the small, taper-bladed dagger for which it is named. The seductive spiky stiletto was made possible by an internal strengthening rod of steel. Vivier created other highly original heels mimicking such forms as the comma, a ball, a pyramid and escargot.

In 1963 Vivier’s opend his own Paris salon and in 1967 he created the iconic chrome-buckle, square-toe Pilgrim flat worn by Catherine Deneuve in Luis Buñuel’s 1967 film Belle du Jour. Catherine turned the shoe into an overnight must-have that remains a classic to this day.




The classic Catherine Deneuve in Belle du Jour

Vivier died in 1998 at the age of 90 but his spirit lives on in a brand that is now stronger than ever, thanks to creative director Bruno Frisoni. In 2001, Frisoni was asked to inject modernity into the rich heritage of the brand.

“Our ambition,” says Frisoni, “is to create a brand, not to set up another shoe shop.” An art critic recently argued that Vivier shoes are high art, on a par with a Picasso or a Canaletto.

For Frisoni, who cites Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert among his muses, “They are like jewels for the feet. They are a subtle and powerful luxury. Sexy, but never garish. The shoe is an accessory of seduction. Seduction is the watchword of my designs at Roger Vivier.”

Examples of Vivier’s designs are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Musée de la Mode et du Textile in the Palais du Louvre, Paris. I think Roger Vivier would be pleased.

10 comments:

husband said...

i like your post today though i suspect that many women would consider him the original inventor of torture devices more fearsome than the "innovations" developed during the Spanish Inquisition!

your husband

ALL THE BEST said...

Ha! Ha! Very funny honey!

All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

Husbands!! they're all the same!!!! :-) I'm glad to know that there are other hubbies that are blog experts out there too!!! :-) :-) :-)

Barbara said...

Fun post!The fabulous Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto also has some iconic Vivier's on view,as well as a truly wonderful website.

miss cavendish said...

Moi, j'adore Vivier. His shoes avoid the primness of the Puritan buckle and would be delightful with, say, an otherwise pedestrian GAP pair of skinny cropped pants. I look forward to exploring his new line.

Patricia Gray said...

I love that flat of his and tried to get it when I was in LA this week, but alas they were sold out. Everyone must have read your blog and rushed the stores!!
PS I met Joni in Dallas...see her latest post about our rendevous.
http://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2008/01/meeting-of-blogs.html

Suzy said...

Wow, I had no idea of the history!

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

love those adorable flats!

Mary-Laure said...

I've been dreaming about those flats for a long time. I really don't like the strappy, stiletto-y creations of Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and the like. To me, Vivier's Belle de Jour flats and Ferragamo's Audreys are the only shoes that are timeless...

enc said...

This is a very nice piece. I just found it today, so I'm behind the times, but I wanted to mention that I liked it.