It’s been four years since Gherardo Felloni took over as creative director of Roger Vivier, ushering in a new era for the heritage luxury shoe brand that centered on “Hotel Vivier,” an immersive (and traveling) installation designed to showcase statement-making shoes and handbags of every season, with exaggerated arrays that included everything from opera singers, furry boudoirs and ASMR sessions to the red velvet curtains of “Twin Peaks ” and even a group of Catherine Deneauve döppelgangers from “Belle du jour.
But for his Spring/Summer 23 presentation (always a hotly anticipated Paris Fashion Week event), Felloni changed things up, ending the Hôtel Vivier run and hanging a new neon sign on the wall: “Maison of Vivier”.
“It’s time for know-how,” Felloni said in an interview ahead of Vivier’s presentation on Thursday. “In this world of social networks, we quickly lose information, no one has (more) memory. Hotel Vivier was a great success but I [wanted to] focus on home values.
To achieve this, Felloni installed artisans in every piece of the presentation, from expertly looped wrapping material with pastel overlays, to a strasse specialist affixing gemstones to a shimmering heel, to a wraparound cobbler at hand embroidered and bow accented sling.
Craftsmen sat in very Vivier rooms that still captured the spirit of Hotel Vivier but were also decidedly wiser. In the living room, a group of models sat in the middle of a bed of flowers while reading books and wearing 60s-inspired lace-up buckle boots. There was still a bit of ASMR, thanks to bags fluffy fringe hanging on the handbag wall (just begging to be touched) and a sparkly piece where a gigantic disco ball sat in the middle, surrounded by the designer’s disco ball (and disco cube) heels.
The entire collection draws on specific shapes, styles and patterns from the Roger Vivier archives, from the buckle to the Choc and Virgule heels, including the embroidery and jewelry techniques that made Vivier a visionary (the designer died in 1998). Felloni has used many of these details in previous collections, but this season featured a few more vintage touches, such as white go-go boots, darling bows and a candy ’60s color palette.
Yet Felloni insists he leaves the archives in their rightful place when designing for his collections. And while the designer has also befriended plenty of starlets during his tenure, he’s also hesitant to point to specific archetypes in Vivier’s realm.
“I don’t like the idea of categorizing women. Women are what they want to do, what they want to be, so I don’t just want to say ‘oh I like party girl’ or ‘I like intellectual’,” Felloni said. “If you see the actresses I work with, they are all completely different. I am attracted by talent, by women who have character, who have self-confidence, it is something that attracts me as a designer. Roger Vivier was also like that. He was dealing with amazing, confident and powerful women, like Queen Elizabeth and Marlene Dietrich.
More recently, Felloni added Emilia Jones to his circle. The British actress, who attended the brand presentation on Thursday, will star in ‘Fairyland’, produced by Sofia Coppola. Rumor has it that Vivier might even make an appearance.
As for what women want to wear now, in an almost post-pandemic world? Felloni says it’s all about choice.
“Women are becoming freer every day. And freedom is freedom, so you can’t control, and it’s really hard to say what women should or should wear today. When you’re free, you have fewer taboos,” the designer said – speaking strictly sartorial but with topical undertones. “[Fashion] is a manifesto about what is happening. My goal is to make this brand that living home today for the women who are alive today.