From 1937 to now, Roger Vivier shoes have encapsulated youth, verve and fashion
The story of Roger Vivier is one that begins as joyfully as you’d expect – surrounded by music, art and beautiful people. As a young man, Vivier was fascinated by the colour and pomp of the theatre, and started his shoemaking career designing for music hall stars Josephine Baker and Mistinguett. Word of his beautiful designs spread, and in 1937 he opened his own boutique in Paris to which customers and collaborators flocked. Vivier began working with leading fashion houses Christian Dior, Schiaparelli and Grès.
His love of experiments and innovation meant he was constantly working with new, unlikely materials: lace, tulle, plastic, vinyl and feathers, more commonly seen in a couturier’s atelier, were now pressed into service to create fashionable, fantastical shoes. In Vivier’s work with Christian Dior in the 1950s he invented the stiletto heel, changing the way women walked forever; less than a decade later he designed the now-iconic Belle Vivier pump to accompany Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 Mondrian collection, its large, rectangular buckle the perfect complement to the bright, modern dresses. Two years later, Catherine Deneuve inducted the shoes into pop culture history by wearing them in 1967 film Belle de Jour.
Above all, Roger Vivier was obsessed with modernity and championing the new – a spirit which current creative director Bruno Frisoni balances with a natural admiration for Vivier’s time-honoured designs. Today Frisoni has expanded Roger Vivier’s original reach, widening the scope to include clutches, bags and accessories, all as vibrant and exciting as Vivier’s first, timeless designs. The result is a luxury accessories brand that honours the past but looks to the future with excitement – and now, as then, the stars have come calling. Celebrities from Olivia Palermo to Rihanna wear Roger Vivier on the street and the red carpet, proving that his distinctive brand of elegance and eccentricity is as relevant today as it always has been.
AboveL Olivia Palermo wears the Sneaky Viv sneakers
From top: Rihanna carries the Night Box clutch. Emily Ratajkowski wears the Belle Vivier pump
Left–right: the Belle Vivier pump that was first created in 1967, and the new, modern version of the Belle Vivier pump