Design Icon, Roger Vivier

I am endlessly fascinated by the creative impulse, the need to imagine and fabricate some version of one’s inner vision. As a designer I know this is a gift, and at times a curse which torments at 2 a.m., but like most designers I cannot imagine doing anything else. It is not surprising that we designers often have posthumous crushes on iconic designers that have forged a unique aesthetic that has stood the test of time. Roger Vivier (1907 – 1998) is just such a character. Created with inventing the stiletto heel in 1954, he is often called the “Fragonard of Shoes” due to his mannerist, ultra-feminine confections. Artistry and a couturier’s attention to detail are to be found in his, at times, fanciful designs, but this is counter-balanced by the modern simplicity of his beloved “Pilgrim” pumps made famous by Catherine Deneuve in the firm, Belle de Jour. Among his famous clients are Ava Gardner, the Beatles, but none more famous that Queen Elizabeth II who wore a bespoke creation by Vivier for her coronation in 1953. It is not surprising that Christian Dior formed a creative collaboration with Vivier in the same year, working together for another decade. Roger Vivier’s fashion house remains a viable source of chic and beautifully crafted shoes. And fabulous shoes are, of course, critical to The Art of Fine Living.

Roger Vivier the genius of French Shoe Design

Roger Vivier the genius of French Shoe Design

Roger Vivier Toile Pumps, 1959

Roger Vivier Toile Pumps, 1959

Roger Vivier and Christian Dior were design collaborators from 1953 to 1963

Roger Vivier and Christian Dior were design collaborators from 1953 to 1963

Vivier Fancy Pumps from 1957

Vivier Fancy Pumps from 1957

Vivier Purse with his famous Pilgrim Buckle

Vivier Purse with his famous Pilgrim Buckle

A Rose is a Rose is a Shoe, Roger Vivier

A Rose is a Rose is a Shoe, Roger Vivier

A Stunning Emerald Green Silk Pump by Roger Vivier

A Stunning Emerald Green Silk Pump by Roger Vivier