His sophisticated, whimsy footwear, often acknowledged as art, has set his name apart from other famous shoe designers around the world. From the infamous comma-shaped shoe, to his more classic platform pom-pom designs, the Roger Vivier brand is a force to be reckoned with. Which explains Virgule, etc…In The Footsteps of Roger Vivier, a recently opened exhibition, showcasing the brand’s best footwear.
Taking up residence at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the exhibition features around 140 pairs of footwear, in no chronological order. It’s curated by the director of the Musee Galliera, Olivier Saillard – the man responsible for the recent Azzedine Alaia exhibition (and of course inredible dramatic lighting in each display). The exhibition takes a look at the beginning and high points of the late designer’s success, as well as celebrating the more recent works by creative director Bruno Frisoni.
Frisoni says of the exhibition, ‘Vivier in the past and Vivier today may not look the same, but there’s no disconnection in terms of philosophy. Style evolves yes, but you can really see Vivier’s legacy of modernity. The fact that it is still timeless today is an incredible achievement.’
Visitors will get to gush over Vivier’s varied portfolio of work – including pieces from his time at Dior in the 1930s, and stand-alone works he created for YSL and Brigette Bardot. Although the brand was only relaunched in 2002, the style has remained very true to Vivier’s original trademark, evident when presented with the difficult task of differentiating between Vivier’s works, and Frisoni’s work. Near impossible.
It feels like the right time to celebrate Vivier’s works. A new generation are taking the helm in the fashion industry – from bloggers to ones to watch – giving the brand a chance to reintroduce Vivier’s prestige to a younger audience. The luxury brand has taken time to rebuild it, after it become a part of Tod’s group in 2002. That patience and hard work has paid off, case in point being Frisoni’s wonderful handling of the brand’s designs (feather-clad pumps from SS10 would have made Vivier proud).
Many of the shoes have been borrowed from museums in New York and Toronto, as well as private collectors, making this exhibition a truly balanced, complete look at the Vivier brand. If one had to sum up the style, fantastical, individual and feminine are just three words that could perhaps do the job. Pieces of haute couture is the phrase of choice here. The man himself was credited with inventing nearly 20 different styles of footwear. He was even responsible for creating shoes for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. No easy feat, if you’ll excuse the pun.
Aside from his unrivalled craftsmanship, Vivier was all about creating works of perfection – from the shape to the textile. Timeless, beautiful pieces were his forte. This is evident in the original sketches on display at the exhibition. The artwork behind the custom-made glass cabinets speaks for itself; 15 years after the designer’s death, the brand still lives on. And if you’re unable to make it to Paris to see the beautiful retrospective for yourself? In true fashion-meets-technology style, there’s an app available for an inside look.
The exhibition is open until November 18th - and oh yea, there’s an app for that…