25 posts tagged "Roger Vivier"
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.
Count on Paris fashion week to end on a high note with a retrospective exhibition dedicated to the inventor of the stiletto heel: Roger Vivier. Set to open at the Palais de Tokyo on October 2, the show, dubbed Virgule, etc… in the Footsteps of Roger Vivier , will give viewers the chance to examine a comprehensive range of the late designer’s fancy footwork. Curated by the Musée Galliera’s Olivier Saillard, the exhibit will display 140 pairs of Vivier shoes—including his famous comma heel (or virgule in French, hence the title).
Vivier, who was once Dior’s star shoemaker, died in 1997, but his legacy lives on. Diego Della Valle revived the brand in 2000, and Bruno Frisoni has been creating dreamy, feminine wares for the house since 2002. His work, too, will be celebrated in the show.
What is it about women and shoes? According to Dr. Valerie Steele, the director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT and the author of Shoes: A Lexicon of Style (among many other fashion books), the fixation dates back to Cinderella and her glass slippers. But that doesn’t necessarily explain women’s willingness to defy death, gravity, and blisters with the super-stacked platforms and needle-thin spikes of modern day. Shoe Obsession, The Museum at FIT’s upcoming exhibition (which, running from February 8 through April 13, was curated by Dr. Steele, Colleen Hill, and Fred Dennis), explores the female shoe fetish via some of the most iconic, outrageous, and exceptional styles that have come out this century.
Including shoes from established houses (Christian Louboutin’s Pigalle stilettos, Roger Vivier’s feather Eyelash pumps, Prada’s flame shoes, and Chanel’s gun heels), up-and-coming talents (Nicholas Kirkwood’s graffitied Keith Haring platforms, Charlotte Olympia’s Kiss Me Dolores pumps), and experimental designers (Masaya Kushino’s sculptural human hair, Cyprus wood, and lace platforms; Noritaka Tatehana’s eighteen-inch ballerina shoes), Shoe Obsession presents every type of high heel you can imagine—and several that you can’t. Here, Dr. Steele talks to Style.com about the fascination with extravagant shoes, the evolution of contemporary footwear, and the upcoming exhibition.
Let’s cut to the chase. Why are so many women obsessed with shoes?
Well, I think there are a couple of layers. First off, shoes are an intimate extension of the physical body. And they seem to say a lot about our personality, our sexual attitudes, and our social status. And high heels in particular seem to be the focus of a lot of our thoughts about gender, sexuality, eroticism, and femininity. I think there’s definitely an element of sexual fetishism involved in men’s fascination with women’s high-heel shoes. But for women, I think it’s not fetishism so much as it is an obsession with fashion and with shoes as the ultimate sartorial symbol of erotic femininity.
Have women always been obsessed with shoes, or was there a point in fashion history when the infatuation really took off?
It goes way back to Cinderella. Shoes have played an important role in cultural thought for a long time. In Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo?, a film from the sixties about French fashion, there’s a wonderful scene when a TV reporter is interviewing some pompous French sociology professor who says that the Cinderella story is all about the importance of tiny feet and beautiful shoes. Then he says, “So there you are: fetishism, mutilation, pain. Fashion in a nutshell.” [Laughs] But I do think that our show is unique, because we’re not just looking at the social and psychosexual reasons why we all love shoes. We’re focusing on the twenty-first century and calling attention to the fact that in the last twelve years or so, after the end of Sex and the City, the obsession with high-end designer shoes has spread from something that only a few people were really obsessed with to being something that everybody’s obsessed with.
Why have heels risen to such hilariously high heights in the past few decades? And what dictates heel height?
I think the key element there is the acceptance of hypersexual shoe design as part of fashion, as opposed to just a corner of the pornographic industry. Before he died, Helmut Newton said in an interview that in the seventies, you had to go to fetish and porn stores to get the kind of shoes he wanted for his fashion photographs. But by the early nineties, he could go to any high fashion designer—Chanel, Dior, they were all doing fetish-y shoes. So that’s one thing, which I think is crucial to the recent growth of heels. Another is the popularity of platforms on shoes. If you’ve got a two-inch platform, automatically your heel can go from three to five inches, or from four to six, or whatever you want.
What makes women willing to shell out so much money for a pair of shoes that they may or may not be able to walk in?
Part of it is that shoe shopping is probably the highest form of fashion shopping. It’s the most pleasurable. I mean, who doesn’t look good in a pair of beautiful shoes? And compare it with something like bathing-suit shopping, which is the nadir of horror. Also, you can get a lot more fashion bang for your buck with a pair of shoes. You know, it might be a thousand dollars, but if you’re going to buy a jacket or a dress by that same or a comparable designer, you’d be talking three, four thousand dollars or up. And right now, people are, in a way, dressing in more of a uniform. For instance, many people just wear a well-cut pair of jeans and a great black jacket. But with shoes, they can play and transform themselves—they can change the style image that they’re creating. Continue Reading “FIT’s Foot Fetish” »
In the days leading up to the Golden Globes, L.A.-based celebrity superstylist Elizabeth Stewart is giving Style.com an exclusive behind-the-scenes account of what it takes to dress Hollywood’s hottest starlets. This season, she’s working with Best Actress nominee Jessica Chastain, Les Misérables star Amanda Seyfried, Julia Roberts (who’s presenting), and Cody Horn on their red-carpet looks. Below, Stewart gives us a glimpse at the last leg of her styling process, and, of course, shows us the actresses’ final looks.
Friday, January 11
I start the day with Cody Horn so we can find her Globes dress. As usual with Cody, it’s the first one we try on. We try some more for good measure (here she tries a Ralph Lauren classic black gown with a vintage YSL necklace). There is Ana sewing in the background!
Then I meet Freida Pinto at the Roger Vivier suite to do a quick fitting and pull some shoes and bags. Freida loves color and is always telling me about great Indian designers. Here, we’re having a laughing fit with Anne Crawford from Vivier (we all get punchy this time of year) and selecting bags with Denise Kim from Vivier. We grab lunch while we are there. The PRs have come to realize that if they don’t feed us stylists, we don’t have time to eat!
Next, I meet a designer downstairs who has flown in with Oscar sketches. Then I head home to meet Kristin Davis, dropping off some shoes to Salma Hayek for her Globes dress on the way. When Kristin Davis comes by, we sit on the floor and gab while choosing bags. I’ve styled her for 12 years, people! That’s a lot of history. I love how she is intently studying this Vivier bag. That’s the one! Youssef Marquis from Givenchy happened to come by at the same time. Those are his feet.
Saturday, January 12
D-day: the day before the Globes! It starts off with some serious multitasking. Here I am making pancakes for my son, Ben, and his friend Diego, while simultaneously communicating with Jessica Chastain, who is packing in NY, and texting with the moms at my daughter Ivy’s volleyball tournament, which I am missing. They are winning at least!
First stop of the day is Amanda Seyfried’s. Youssef from Givenchy has flown in her Globes dress and his tailor Ana (my tailor is also named Ana!). We fit the dress, try Fred Leighton jewelry that Katie pulled while we were in NY, and Youssef shows off the shirt Riccardo Tisci made for him. It has Youssef’s puppy on it! We also squeeze in a quick SAG fitting and look at sketches. Continue Reading “Red-Carpet Ready: Elizabeth Stewart’s Golden Globes Diary” »