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April 24 2014

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Punctuation Meets Punk At Roger Vivier

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Tartan Virgule shoe

Long before there was the red sole, there was the “comma” shoe—also known as Roger Vivier’s Virgule. Launched in 1963, the shoe, famous for its curved heel, is the stuff of fashion lore. Last week, a major Vivier retrospective opened at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Virgule etc.…In the footsteps of Roger Vivier, and yup, the shoe earned top billing out of the immense body of work from the man who considered himself an architect and an inventor first, and a shoemaker by happenstance. Vivier and his Virgule’s world tour stops in London tomorrow at Selfridges Shoe Galleries—the largest shoe department in the world and an undisputed mecca for shoe lovers. It is here where the house will open its first shop in an event hosted by Inès de la Fressange, current creative consultant for Vivier, and designer Bruno Frisoni. It is all part of an international expansion of the brand, which has already seen shops opened this year in Japan and China.

The Vivier house has deep roots in Britain. In 1953, its namesake designer created the royal shoes for HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation. After that, he shoed the Duchess of Windsor—not to mention his laundry list of iconic non-British patrons, like Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor, Jeanne Moreau, and Brigitte Bardot. Today, the house’s fan base is made up of the “elegant” types—Cate Blanchett, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Anne Hathaway, Nicole Kidman—but that doesn’t mean the label can’t have a rebellious edge. For tomorrow’s Selfridges launch, the Virgule will be reissued in a punk-tinged tartan; the updated classic debuts exclusively above. Later that night at Le Baron, a party hosted by pop progeny Atlanta Cadenet-Taylor will introduce a new generation of fans to Vivier’s work, though one wonders if his shoes have ever danced to strains of EDM. In any event, it shows that the house isn’t just living on past glory—it’s looking ahead.

Photo: Courtesy Photo

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