Fabrizio Viti's cruise collection


LOVE TO LOVE: Fabrizio Viti brought his cruise collection of footwear to a little-known corner of the Champs-Elysées, the Hôtel de la Païva. Tucked away from the noise of the French capital’s busiest tourist district, the sandals, heels and boots were displayed in an imposing setting of plush burgundy and dark wood.

And there was a portrait of Donna Summer nestled under a thick bouquet of mauve flowers. It was surrounded by sexy cocktail heels in leopard-printed silk and metallic gold, some sporting his trademark upward curved heel that gives an illusion of height.

Make no mistake: the funk star inspiration is not just a passing, seasonal fancy for this designer, who is also style director for Louis Vuitton’s women shoes. A longtime fan, Viti became friends with the late diva and her daughters. To the Tuscan-born Italian, Summer represents a strong, intelligent woman — and a singer trained on Broadway.

“Do you see these girls now who were chosen by producers?” he asked, noting he doesn’t see the point in sending them his shoes, as some have suggested he do. Summer’s portrait on his cellphone screen? “That was taken in 1978 — so she was 30, of course,” he said.

Still, Viti insisted he’s not stuck in the past. “I love bows and I did many bows,” he said, grabbing a shoe with an orange rubber decoration. “And then I thought, is this too old, is this nostalgic? Probably, yes, but in rubber, probably not.”

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