02 November 2010

Vivier CHIC

We've talked about CHIC- and last week I was in New York-probably considered one of the most chic cities in the world. Perhaps autumn's unkind 80 degree weather created a chink in CHIC at October's end. What does one wear when one wants to wear fur?-and they did, velvet? and they did, coats? and they did. This Southerner was flummoxed, and hot-not in a good way. I got by with a short Burberry trench and a McQueen silk stole, so I did look somewhat put together. I am happy to add I mostly wear sensible shoes-my soles would not have it any other way- so- I did no Roger Vivier trodden on the pavement or pounding it. I did stop in at SAKS to eye VIVIER, since this post was in the works before the trip & there is No Doubt CHIC perfectly describes the Vivier shoe- the man, his style and his home.

"SUPPOSEDLY it was Christian Dior, who while working in his atelier with the legendary cobbler Roger Vivier, was moved to coin the word “footwear.” “Imagine discussing Marie Antoinette’s shoes!” Dior was said to have exclaimed. From then on, M. Vivier, when speaking of his creations, never used the s-word again. Or so the story goes." (nytimes-Zarah Crawford)

A Colorful Collage by Roger Vivier ,
Circa Mid 1970's



the Fragonard of the shoe 
the Faberge of footwear


Vivier for Diana Vreeland late 1960's




As with his footwear, Vivier approached the interiors of his Paris apartment, shared with Jacques Damase, like sculpture. The assemblage of period antiques,objects and art were displayed strategically with space to breathe. Louis XV chairs sit sculpturally against white walls. A Serge Poliakoff painting is framed in an Italian 16th century frame. Poliakoff had been influenced by the Delaunays' emotive color studies and the sculptor Otto Freundlich's curved colour-form compositions. His palette of browns and greys open to accommodate bright colors like Vivier's. Objects like the Egyptian Ibis is displayed on a 16th century lacquer Chinese table & it coexists harmoniously with a Venetian Saint Sebastian placed on an ormolu Louis XVI table.

Deliberate juxtaposition ruled the residence. A striking Carlo Segio Signori sculpture dominates a Coromandel screen and an ancient Cycladic idol. Perfect balance pervades in this Vivier setting. A Jean-Michel Atlan painting hangs defiantly over a Louis XVI chair from the Rambouillet Palace, still in its original leather. Atlan, a self taught painter, a teacher, poet and member of the French resistance found a place exhibiting his paintings alongside Braque & Matisse. Atlan recreated the rhythmic elements of poetry in the heavily blackened outlines of pastel forms. A lyric or hieroglyphic message emerges in many Atlan's paintings.

Vivier's 12th century "shoeless" Chinese goddess floats along a wall in the sitting room where Louis XV chairs in red leather reside alongside a Mies van de Rohe's Barcelona chair. 

Vivier showed up in the cinematic masterpiece by Luis Bunuel, Belle de Jour, on Catherine Deneuve's feet. ( l.),  in its current incarnation- Vivier's own masterpiece. The Vivier shoe was a sensation. Bruno Frisoni has adopted the de Jour shoe's geometric buckle as the Vivier signature.

Frisson carried on with the cinema CHIC of Roger Vivier in the footwear he designed for Cate Blanchett in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood 


C H I C 

VIVIER site here.

utterly charming with true C H I C-and we do not use the C word loosely, No?. explore it in depth. there are wonderful photographs of the Vivier apartment there and the design House of Vivier

Bruno Frisoni is responsible for the revival of the Vivier mystique and as its creative director he has been searching the Vivier archives for inspiration- his homage to and his interpretation of Roger Vivier's style has made it the most CHIC footwear today. It is firmly ingrained luxury. There is a twist of the modern-a newness-but not trendy-no Never-just witness the Jimmy Choo ugg?
No not here, thankfully-but then THAT is nowhere near our word-CHIC, not even close.


 C H I C 
to spare 

Another photograph of the VIVIER interior takes the idea of spare Chic into the dramatically lit Hall. The stone Burgundian goddess of plenty, Pomona, confronts a Cesar Baldaccini Compression sculpture. Cesar is known as the great innovator of modern metal sculpture and took the idea of junk cars in America being compressed for scrap. Cesar said "although I had received a classical academic training, my vision changed through my work with scrap iron. I entered the factory world and learned to approach recuperated materials in their own language."

In Ines de Fressange, ROGER VIVIER brings the epitome of CHIC to the label.  

Ines Little Diaries here

 the New York Madison Avenue store below 

the design House of Vivier has been revived beautifully since 2002 by Bruno Frisoni- carrying the idea that a VIVIER shoe is sculpture and for Fall 2010 Frisoni says “Be classic and chaste with a modern touch” .

  Gwyneth Paltrow in Roger Vivier
(that clutch GP is clutching is CHIC, truly)

all VIVIER interior images from The Best In European Decoration, edited by  Georges & Rosamond Bernier
&  once there find- Ines Little Diaries here -

at Adrianna Sassoon-read all about VIVIER here  



  1. Chic is great, but if the shoes are comfortable I might actually wear them:).

  2. This post is why I stop here. A happy reprieve from the day.

  3. Mother's shoemaker. SFA used to sell him. Do they still? You make it sound as if they might not be allowed to normal people, but I remember it very clearly. They were.

  4. LPC, & they are, I think You would truly love them, I mean Prada love them. Saks is very generous with them as is the boutique.

  5. Mrs. Blandings, my sole-both, that is to say all-thank You.

  6. Laurent, SFA certainly does and as said to LPC-generously still does. Though some of them in the Madison Ave. store are displayed behind acrylic-You can actually touch them and pick them up, and I am normal, for the most part. It would follow that your Mother-a Mitford lover, if I remember correctly, would wear them-perfectly suited are both. They can be snatched up or custom made-though I could never go so far. They are Chic and witnessed here, worn by celestial beings-at least- however they can belong to all. viva la france! and vivier! -pgt

  7. Oh my word. The first image of the cuff bracelet and Gwyneth's clutch have sent me into a fit of lust. This is a spectacular post P.G.T... Inès is so wonderful. Hoorah for Vivier...love, love.


  8. Thanks for the Roger Vivier posting - I was especially intrigued by his interiors. The last one reminded me of a de Chirico painting.

  9. To die for ! What a delight to read this post.THANK YOU!!

  10. A wonderful post... thank you!

  11. An amusing speculation, LA, but I honestly don't think one's mother was the fetishist you make her out to be, for what covered someone else's feet.

  12. HH, Modern Co., retrofemme- yes, fashion still speaks to us all. it was a lark of a post and the rift on CHIC is really a continuation on its over use in the blogs and magazines- and HERE today on LA! those these shoes are just that.

    Mark- me too, that is how this post all started and He-Vivier took shoes as seriously as his interiors.

    Laurent- what? don't really follow that at all, but it just seems all too serious a comment for such a post. Peace, truce-

  13. This is my "good night" post read. I'll have sweet, chic dreams now.......K

  14. ha ha Little A. What a fantastically chichi post and even better the chicy commentary. Vivier shoes are ICONIC CHIC, I worship.I die.

  15. Love that header too LA.

  16. Drats! We missed each other again! This transitional weather is most tiresome. One leaves the house in the chilly morning wearing YSL wool pants and finds himself SWEATING like a pig come noon. ACK! We really must meet up and window shop. xx

  17. Kathy-and the same to you last night! and chicly please.

    Anon. 2- I chicly thank you and so does the header.

    Daniel- I was really in and out of 48 hours, went to Emily Eerdmans' Castaing book launch and did Kips bay and yes window shopping and client shopping and Home, where it is now a brisk 45 degrees this evening. Finally I hope the pigs are in for the winter. Gaye

  18. Some day I will have a pair of Viver flats. I would wear them every single day without fail.

  19. Gaye --

    The abstracts juxtaposed with the French chairs are sensational. And you know I want Blanchett's boots! What an inspired post. (Thanks for the passion you pour into all of your posts, by the way.)

  20. Dear Gaye, what a fabulous post. Vivier's house is truly chic. I also love the shoes and clutch worn by Gwyneth xx



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