PARIS — A minute of silence interrupted the lavish presentation Roger Vivier hosted on Thursday at the 19th-century building housing the Fondation Simone et Cino Del Duca.
The brief quiet that descended on the location was followed by a poignant moment during which performer Lolly Wish, who was standing on a giant sculpture of a swan welcoming guests to the venue, started to sing John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
“I asked for a moment of reflection about the situation we’re living now, and to sing something for peace…just to speak up a little bit,” said Roger Vivier’s artistic director Gherardo Felloni, who envisioned the latest installment of the Hôtel Vivier multistory concept marking the brand’s return in full force to an in-person extravaganza.
“As usual, Hôtel Vivier is the occasion to celebrate freedom, love, creativity — especially in this moment, it’s really hard to do it. But that’s my job, that’s what I can do, just speak up about something that I really believe in, so peace and creativity. Also because there’s no creativity without peace,” Felloni added.
Music has always been a favorite medium of expression for Felloni, second only to shoe design. As per tradition during Felloni’s tenure at Roger Vivier, it played a key role in the presentation, framing and elevating the accessories collection and enhancing the theatrical effect of the event. But a soprano’s rendition of the “Casta Diva” aria coming from one of the rooms and filling the entire space was only one of the various spectacles the designer staged across the three-story building. These ranged from a dining room serving the brand’s styles in candy colors to the backstage of a cabaret, offering a glimpse of divas’ changing room and their fabulous looks, wigs and jewelry.
Personalities including Catherine Deneuve, Rossy de Palma and “Emily in Paris” actress Camille Razat — as well as Coco Rocha, Ella Emhoff and Precious Lee — were seen roaming across the space, occasionally stopping at the four stations that Felloni wanted to include to spotlight the brand’s know-how. Here, artisans were busy crafting heels, applying feathers on shoes or setting rhinestones on the label’s signature buckles.
“We open our door a little bit, just to show what is inside, which is full of savoir-faire. That’s the big difference between Vivier and other shoe brands,” Felloni said.
Craftsmanship was best epitomized by the statement shoe of the season, the Choc Feathers Pump, whose shape nods to the silhouette of a swan. Taking a week to realize, the style is also defined by the brand’s signature Choc curved heel — invented by the founder of the luxury house — and feathers, applied by hand and rendered in pastel hues of pink, lilac and aquamarine.
“So the inspiration is, of course, the archive,” said Felloni, revealing that when he joined the company in 2018, he took 15 days just to dig into it, studying shoes, collages and some sketches he found. “I memorized everything…and I felt like the Choc heel could be something interesting now…so I studied the drawing again to reinterpret it,” he said.
For fall, there also was room for new experiments, as Felloni introduced “leg jewelry.” Spotlighted in a dedicated corridor leading to a boudoir, these eccentric accessories came in geometric motifs and were rich in crystals, pearls and feathers.
“It’s something really new, usually jewels are around your head and far from shoes…but I said: ‘Let’s try to do something that’s closer to the foot,’” Felloni said.
The designer continued to up the craftsmanship ante on the handbag front, too, as he offered more than 20 exclusive pieces reinterpreting the Viv’ Choc bag with embroideries and rhinestones.