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Celebrating Roger Vivier in Paris, the Creator of the Stiletto Heel and More

Celebrating Roger Vivier in Paris, the storied creator of covetable footwear for even the most regal of society women, with a new retrospective honoring his legendary career:

Roger Vivier Paris retrospective

Roger Vivier Paris retrospective

Richard Nahem, our FocusOnStyle Parisian correspondent, has an admitted fancy for genius shoes as he worked in a family retail shoe business as a teenager selling platform shoes and later on at the Delman Shoe Salon at Bergdorf Goodman in the early 80′s, dispensing shoes to the hautiest of women. Let’s hear what he says about this fantastic shoe exhibition

Roger Vivier Paris retrospective

Roger Vivier Paris retrospective

As many of you know I have a thing for shoes, as I worked in a family retail shoe business as a teenager selling platform shoes and later on at the Delman Shoe Salon at Bergdorf Goodman in the early 80s, selling shoes to Park Ave. women.

I rushed the last week to see the newly installed Roger Vivier retrospective at the Palais de Tokyo and was in shoe heaven. Vivier was one of the greatest and prolific shoe designers ever with a career spanning over six decades. Also an innovator, he invented the first stiletto heel and his famous comma heel. The 140 styles hand-picked for the show by curator Olivier Sailliard bedazzled even this hardcore shoe fanatic. The delicate femininity, the rich and sometimes outlandish fabrications including feathers, beads, embroidery by Lesage and Rebet, stones, sequins, silk, ruffles, printed silk, and glass beads, make the shoes works of fine art.

Roger Vivier Paris retrospective

Roger Vivier Paris retrospective

Vivier started in the 1930s and he rose to fame by designing shoes for Christian Dior between 1953 and 1963. Celebrity clientele included Ava Gardner, Jeanne Moreau, Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot, the Duchess of Windsor, Princess Soraya of Iran and the Beatles. The pinnacle of his career was his commission to design Queen Elizabeth’s coronation shoes in 1953.

Roger Vivier Paris retrospective

Roger Vivier Paris retrospective

Perhaps Vivier’s most iconic and timeless shoe was the Pilgrim pump he designed for Catherine Deneuve in the 1967 Bunuel film Belle de Jour, which made the shoes an instant smash and are still recognizable best-sellers today.

In recent years Italian designer Bruno Fisoni was made creative director & head designer while the style icon Ines de la Fressange holds court as a brand ambassador.

Roger Vivier Paris retrospective

Roger Vivier Paris retrospective

Virgule Etc: In the Footsteps of Roger Vivier coupled with the Azzedine Alaia exhibit right across the street, that I wrote about earlier, are the best museum shows presently in Paris this season, so don’t miss them.

CLICK ON SOME Roger Vivier favorites available online:

Visit in Paris:
Palais de Tokyo 
13 Ave. President Wilson, 75016
http://www.palaisdetokyo.com/en/exhibition/fashion-program/virgule-etc

 

Required Reading for Instant French Chic:

>> MORE: How to Wear It posts

Paris Fashion Week Street Style Photos: Richard Nahem

Published on October 16, 2013

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