A French man, Roger Vivier was a fashion designer who lived during the 20th century. Vivier is recognized for the conception of the Stiletto heels. While the shoes by him are defined as Footwear Fabergé, the designer has been named as the Shoe’s Fragonard by a number of critics.
Vivier described his shoe designs as being more than fashion – sculptures with extravagant and rich decoration. In 1954, the stiletto heel design by Roger was highly credited. The heels were ultra-thin. Although such heels were available during the 1800s, Roger’s interpretation of the existing stilettos was exceptional and innovative at the time. He developed and revived it by using a slender steel rod to manufacture the heel.
Among the most notable customers of Roger Vivier were The Beatles, Gloria Guinness, Ava Gardner and also Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen wore his design for her 1953 coronation. This was a moment of honor for the designer since an exalted personality preferred his creativity among the others and wore the shoes to an esteemed event.
Apart from his personal clientele, the designer produced shoe designs for a decade from 1953 until1963 for the well-known label, Christian Dior. Other than re-vamping the stilettos, Vivier kept experimenting with ideas for new and unique shapes, such as the ‘comma’ cut. In order to embellish the shoes Roger made use of different materials, including jewels, stones, beads, pearls, silk, appliqué and lace. He figured various combinations in which to place these items on the shoes so that each pair would stand out among the rest.
In the course of finding new styles, in the 1960s he came up with the knee satin-silk boots outlined with a variety of jewels. Around the same time, he also invented the high-thigh boots for evening wear knit with noir elastic and beads. Among his many self design discoveries, the shoemaker/designer launched the ‘pilgrim’ pumps paired with silver clasps. Such a pair was worn in Belle de Jour film by Catherine Deneuve. Hence, this creation received publicity from around the world and the design was imitated by several people.
The hallmark of Vivier’s line is exclusivity and luxury. Many shoes are tailor-made with hand-embroidery using gold threads. After the death of Roger Vivier, the brand’s stores opened in different parts of the United States and designs are now created by Lena Pessosa. As of 2003, the brand is owned and run by Diego Della Valle.
The original designs by Roger Vivier himself have become artifacts and are on display in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. They are also exhibited in Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum, Louvre’s Musée du Costume et de la Mode, and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.
Considering his personal life, Roger loved the pink color and often incorporated the hue in his work because it made him the happiest. During his lifetime, the designer wished to have a house near the Amalfi Coast. Moreover, since beaches were an enjoyable location for Vivier, he really liked going there in his convertible car. Apart from his own, he liked other labels, such as Mountain Shop and Chucks Dive. His shopping partner used to be Marie Christophe.
All in all, the ideology of the brand’s pioneer was to provide women with lady-like, elegant, classy and novel footwear. The aim was to produce ground-breaking shoe designs that instill excitement in the fashion market.