Roger Vivier

Tonie Ong

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Articles on Roger Vivier

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Fine footwear is one of the most luxurious things in the world. Dressing up your feet with exquisitely-designed pieces made with the finest materials and impeccable craftsmanship just screams luxury. In fact, some of today’s most prominent business in the luxury goods business focus solely on shoes, while others who have different categories have their shoe lines become one of their most lucrative ventures. Throughout the years, many shoe designers have showcased their own take on what a luxurious pair of shoes must look like. However, none is as legendary as Roger Vivier.

His name alone conjures up images of fine footwear worn by some of the most glamorous women in history. His creations redefined the fashion and footwear industry, making both a big venture in the luxury goods game. Furthermore, some of his most well-known signatures have become staples in a modern woman’s wardrobe, even to this day. Such resilience is the type of impact he has on luxury footwear. Even though he’s been long gone, his work is forever imprinted in the lives of women who enjoy a beautiful pair of shoes for her everyday life. In terms of the footwear market, no one can ever come close to Roger Vivier.

The Stiletto Heel

From his roster of beautiful and iconic shoes, none are as beloved and as remembered as the Stiletto heels. He is credited by many in the industry as the inventor of the modern stiletto heels, significant pair women have worn since the early 20th century. Although stiletto heels themselves have been around since the late 19th century, the feminine-looking yet sharp pair of sleek and thin heels the world knows today was introduced by Vivier. This particular type of shoe has since been adapted numerous times by various other designers, the likes of Manolo Blahnik, Sergio Rossi, and Christian Louboutin.

A string of glmaorous designs

Roger Vivier was born on November 3, 1903, in France. In 1930, he opened his namesake brand with a store at 22 rue Royale in Paris, eventually becoming a favorite among the capital city’s elite. Apart from his classic shapes and silhouettes, he made use of other materials not associated with footwear at the time. In 1945, he released a pair of boots that had plastic—becoming the first to use the material for footwear. It was one of his first innovations that catapulted his name to greater recognition, and soon, the world’s high society was at his beck and call.

In 1953, he offered a new shoe innovation again, this time featuring a spherical decoration at the heel of the shoe. The design was both glamorous and exotic, and quickly became part of his many signatures. A year later, in 1954, he introduced the Aiguille stiletto, a higher version of the classic stilleto. This shoe was soon worn by women who worked, ultimately making the pair a favorite for a career woman’s wardrobe. Almost a decade later, in 1963, he opened his first official fashion house on rue Francois 1er in Paris. Around this time, it was one of the most visited maisons in the industry, apart from the more famous haute couture houses. In 1998, at the age of 94, Vivier passed away, leaving behind an indelible legacy in the footwear industry.

Growth through collaborations

Apart from his exquisite and elaborate designs, his collaborations with various brands and art forms have helped his own name grow. In 1953, Christian Dior hired Roger Vivier to design for his shoe line, While his creations back then were under the Dior name, the style was indelibly Vivier, and soon, other  haute couture houses hired him for their shoe lines as well. In 1967, Viver ventured into costume design by designing a few of Catherine Deneuve‘s shoes in her iconic film, Belle Du Jour. From this film came one of his most famous pairs: the Pilgrim pumps with silver buckles. Like Deneuve’s character in the film, the pair is innocent-looking but had a lot of sexual subversiveness to it.

Iconic pieces for iconic clientele

Roger Vivier boasts a clientele of such high prestige that no other brand, whether shoe or fashion, can match. One of his most famous and renowned clients is Queen Elizabeth II, who commissioned Vivier to maker her shoes for her coronation back in 1953. Around the same time, world-class socialites and fashion icons like Babe Paley, Gloria Guinness, and Mona Bismarck have all bought and worn Vivier shoes. In the entertainment industry, stars like Hollywood actresses Ava Gardner and Marlene Dietrich, and legendary band The Beatles have also worn shoes from the label. These very icons prove how prestigious the Roger Vivier brand really is.

There’s not a lot of brands whose work through the years changed the landscape of luxury forever. Roger Vivier is part of this illustrious and highly-exclusive group. The designer and his brand contributions to footwear is defined by the industry it created and the market that is still booming to this day.

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