Roger Vivier

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Shoes by Roger Vivier for Christian Dior
Roger Vivier
Roger Vivier

(1907-11-13)13 November 1907
Died2 October 1998(1998-10-02) (aged 90)
Employer(s)Christian Dior SE, Yves Saint Laurent
Known forDesigning for Queen Elizabeth II for her Coronation

Roger Henri Vivier (13 November 1907 – 2 October 1998)[1] was a French fashion designer who specialized in shoes. His best-known creation was the stiletto heel.[2]


A Roger Vivier boutique in Beijing, China

Vivier has been called the "Fragonard of the shoe" and his shoes "the Fabergé of Footwear"[3] by numbers of critics. He designed extravagant, richly decorated shoes that he described as sculptures. He is credited with the design of the first platform shoe in 1937[4] and the first stiletto heel in 1954.[5] Stiletto heels, the very thin high heel, were certainly discovered around in the late 19th century, as numerous fetish drawings attest, but Vivier is known for reviving and developing this opulent style by using a thin rod of steel.

Ava Gardner, Gloria Guinness and The Beatles were all Vivier customers, and he designed shoes for Queen Elizabeth II for Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II her coronation in 1953.[6]

Vivier designed shoes for house Christian Dior from 1953 to 1963. In addition to the stiletto heel, he also experimented with other shapes, including the comma. He used silk, pearls, beads, lace, appliqué and jewels to create unique decorations for his shoes.

In the 1960s, Vivier also designed silk-satin knee boots outlined in jewels, and thigh-high evening boots in a black elastic knit with beads. Perhaps his best known boot design of the decade was the low-heeled, thigh-high, black crocodile boot he produced for Yves Saint Laurent's fall 1963 collection, paired with a Space Age-looking, all-black Saint Laurent ensemble of tights, suede jerkin, short ciré jacket, and helmet-like visored cap and hood,[7] the boots a variation of a pair Vivier had designed for a Rudolph Nureyev performance of Swan Lake.[8] His possibly most iconic shoe design of the decade, the low-heeled Pilgrim pumps with silver buckles produced for Yves Saint Laurent's 1965 Mondrian collection[9] (worn by Catherine Deneuve in the film Belle de Jour) received international publicity and many imitations.

Corporate business[edit]

Vivier has a boutique on the Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré, whose design is inspired by Vivier's apartment. The collection is designed by Bruno Frisoni. Exclusivity is the hallmark of the line, with many shoes made to order, some with hand-embroidered gold thread. There are now three shops in the USA. The latest opened in May 2012.[10] Vivier's shoes are on display at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto and the Musée de la mode et du textile at the Louvre.

The brand has been owned by Diego Della Valle's company, Tod's, from 2006. As of November 2015, Tod's owns 60.7% in the shoe brand.[11]

In 2018, Gherardo Felloni became creative director of Roger Vivier.[12] Felloni created new renditions of the designer's classic styles.[13] These included a buckled shoe with longer buckle and thicker heel as well as the Maharaja slipper which was made slimmer, covered in stones, and accessorized with a single feather.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Enid Nemy (8 October 1998). "Roger Vivier Is Dead at 90; Raised Heels to New Heights". The New York Times. p. B 11. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  2. ^ Roger Vivier (Memoire): Books: Colombe Pringle
  3. ^ Hilary Rose (27 September 2007). "Ahead of the curve". The Times. UK. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  4. ^ Hyde, Nina (29 December 1985). "Roger Vivier's High-Art Heels". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 March 2022. In 1937, he created the first platform shoe for Schiaparelli.
  5. ^ Meredith Paslawsky (November 2008). "Italian Fashion: The History of High Heels". Life in Italy. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  6. ^ Hannah Shakir (October 2009). "Vivier la Reine!". Glass Magazine. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  7. ^ Peake, Andy (2018). "Chapeau Melon et Bottes de Cuir". Made for Walking. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Fashion Press. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-7643-5499-1. Yves Saint Laurent's fall...1963...visored caps, black leather jerkins, and Roger Vivier's towering cuissardes in black crocodile...gave what [the Daily Mail's Iris] Ashley called 'a real space girl effect...'
  8. ^ Peake, Andy (2018). "Chapeau Melon et Bottes de Cuir". Made for Walking. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Fashion Press. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-7643-5499-1. Vivier had originally designed the boots for Rudolph Nureyev's performance as the prince in Swan Lake.
  9. ^ "Homage to Piet Mondrian". Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris. Retrieved 11 January 2022. For this [1965 Mondrian] collection, Saint Laurent sketched a series of shoes that were made by the designer Roger Vivier: black pumps decorated with a large square buckle in gold or silver metal.
  10. ^ "Sutton's Law: Viva Vivier!". 7 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Tod's splashes out $440 million on Roger Vivier shoes". Reuters. 23 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Tank Magazine". Tank Magazine. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  13. ^ Holt, Bethan (11 December 2018). "Roger Vivier's new designer Gherardo Felloni on being inspired by Catherine Deneuve and making trainers glamorous". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  14. ^ "Gherardo Felloni". The World's Best Events. Retrieved 20 November 2023.

External links[edit]