Roger Vivier—one of the shoe world’s most storied maisons—has been bringing Parisian charm and exquisite craftsmanship to a worldwide audience for over eight decades. And like the brand’s bejeweled creations, its history is punctuated with glistening, glamorous accomplishments. Monsieur Vivier began designing footwear in the 1930s for everyone from Folies Bergère performers to Christian Dior and even Queen Elizabeth II for her coronation in 1953. But his most iconic design remains the Belle Vivier, with its spiffy square toe and polished buckle making a memorable cinematic cameo on Catherine Deneuve in 1967’s Belle de Jour.
Fast forward to present day, with creative director Gherardo Felloni determined to honor Vivier’s illustrious past while dialing into the au courant. To wit, for the latest campaign, he made a stylish short film romp starring two accomplished, multi-generational actors: Susan Sarandon as an outré acting teacher and AnnaSophia Robb as her devoted pupil. Inspired by Italian director Antonio Pietrangeli’s 1965 cult film Io La Conoscevo Bene (I Knew Her Well), the piece also co-stars the new Très Vivier pumps, matching Beau Vivier bag, cheeky Viv’ Utility hikers, and Broche Vivier bracelet.
“My vision is to take inspiration from our rich heritage and extensive archives, yet reinterpret the past in a fresh way,” says the Tuscan-born designer. For the Fall/Winter collection, that translates to a new series of shoes that are a departure from previous seasons while still retaining the quintessentially Parisian spirit of Vivier. Wasting no time since his appointment in March 2018, Felloni has struck upon a sweet spot of classic with a deliriously playful twist in the new Courbette heel. This bicolor, chunky block design features a bold curved metallic interior, inspired by an archive style from 1960.
With an avid international following, evolving the brand to attract a new audience while still appealing to loyalists is a fashion tightrope. But for Felloni—whose CV includes footwear and accessory design posts at Miu Miu (where he dreamt up their feathery footwear confections in candy hues) and Christian Dior under John Galliano—following his instincts has proved fruitful. He mentions his foray into sneakers with the bestselling Viv’ Run as a risk that’s thankfully worked. “This was the maison’s first sports shoe—it is comfortable and aerodynamic, but still shows the DNA of the maison through the buckle and the shape of the Choc heel,” he says, noting that seeing it worn on clients of all ages is immensely gratifying. “My goal is to accompany the maison as it evolves and to keep the innovative side of Roger Vivier alive. Our values, such as luxury, creativity and lightheartedness, are always in my mind when I design. It’s just a question of making the collection relevant and contemporary.”
This approach is also evident in the way Felloni voraciously consumes culture—be it bingeing on the Netflix sci-fi series Stranger Things or working in a vacuum of classical music. His layered creative process also includes immersing himself in the RV treasure trove. “When I took this role, the most beautiful surprise was the archives. They are bigger and with so much more variety than I thought possible,” he says. “I love that there is no other accessories maison that has this kind of historical value and legacy.”