Roger Henry Vivier (1903 - 1998) was one of the most famous French fashion designers of the 20th century, who was specializing in the footwear design. And these were not just shoes! These were the most luxurious 20th century shoes that allowed Roger Vivier to become a celebrity, but his performance was able to stand alongside fame of Dior.
The Stiletto heel became his most famous invention. And it was not for nothing that Vivier was nicknamed "Fragonard of the shoes" (let's remember the exquisite 18th-century painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard!), but his shoes were called "Fabergé shoes". They were critics of Roger Vivier who referred to the much more decadent, sophisticated shoes, many of which seemed to have created the Rococo obsession.
In fact, he created extravagant, richly decorated shoes, featuring the efforts of 20th-century shoe designers to come closer to the expression of the sculptural-style.
The Dangerous Height Of The Stiletto Heel
It is believed that exactly in 1954 Vivier created his first design of the stiletto heel. These stiletto heels were very sharp and very high ... In many respects, they resembled the late 19th century shoes that were favorites among shoe fetishists and, nevertheless, Vivier came as a great master of innovation ... He, however, recalled the prototype of the old-fashioned stiletto, but created much more splendid and more striking shoe models with a fine rod - a steel core that is integrated into the heels.
Ava Gardner, Gloria Guinness, and even the members of British band 'The Beatles', have become customers of Vivier. One of the loudest events in the fashion world took place in 1953 when Vivier created a shoe design specifically for coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II of England.
The Collaboration With House Of Dior. Rococo Style Paraphrases In Shoe Design
Roger Vivier collaborated with House of Dior from 1953 to 1963. Informally cooperation was launched already in the 40's by common agreement on the design concept. Soon, the most amazing shoe design masterpieces were created!
It was also the most productive time for Vivier himself. In addition to his experiments with stiletto heel, he also tried other forms, including the comma heel. This heel became the brightest sign of the author's creative hallmark, as it was a paraphrase of the curved rocaille motif, that once was created in the 18th century. In addition, he used silk fabric, pearls, glass beads, lace, applications and bright stones (including gems) to create unique shoe decorating techniques.
During the 60's, Vivier also created famous high boots made of silk satin fabric. They were decorated with bright stones. During this time, a special thigh-high boots were created that were meant to be worn with evening dress. These unusual shoes were made of black elastic knitting, complemented by beads.
However, the most famous shoe design by Vivier was created in 1967. These were Pilgrim Pumps with silver shoe buckles. Catherine Deneuve wore Pilgrim Pumps in movie Belle de Jour. So this pair of shoes got enormous international publicity and was imitated more than once.
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My name is Edīte Parute and I am a fashion historian and researcher from Latvia, association member at "The Association of Dress Historians" (UK) and author of the book "Stila un modes enciklopēdija"/"Encyclopedia of Style and Fashion" (2010) as well as author of many publications.