PARIS — It’s all change at Roger Vivier with Bruno Frisoni, the shoe guru synonymous with the revival of the iconic French footwear house, set to exit the firm after a fruitful 16-year collaboration.
His fall 2018 collection, to be presented on Feb. 27 during Paris Fashion Week, is to be his last. The brand was mum on who might fill Frisoni’s shoes.
His exit comes despite a solid performance by the brand in 2017, saluted by Diego Della Valle, chairman and chief executive officer of parent company Tod’s Group, at the presentation of the firm’s preliminary full-year results in late January. Sales at Roger Vivier grew 7.8 percent to 179.3 million euros in sales, showing growth in all main markets. The brand today counts 40 stores in total internationally.
The announcement also comes on the heels of other executive changes at the house, which recently named Violante Avogadro di Vigliano global marketing and communications director, a new post. She is to oversee the marketing, digital, public relations and partnership strategies of the brand on a worldwide level. Cristina Malgara, Roger Vivier’s longtime global communications director, recently left her position.
“These 16 years dedicated to reviving Roger Vivier represent a fascinating and exceptional experience,” Frisoni said in a statement, calling his tenure an “extraordinary adventure.”
He thanked Della Valle “for his trust” and also brand ambassador Inès de la Fressange, calling her “an inspiration and a friend forever, and the talented teams and collaborators who allowed me to bring the brand where it is today.”
“I would like to thank Bruno on my behalf and on behalf of all the people who work for Roger Vivier, for the work which has been done during all these years and I wish Bruno a future filled with new opportunities and success,” Della Valle said.
Having acquired the house in 2000, two years after the passing of its namesake designer, the Italian entrepreneur tasked Frisoni with reviving the brand and creating a new design direction — no mean feat considering Vivier’s legacy as a footwear genius, and inventor of the stiletto heel. His most iconic designs included the curved comma heel, and the square-buckle patent leather black pump designed for the fall 1965 YSL Mondrian collection. The shoes were also worn by Catherine Deneuve in “Belle de Jour” (1967), and recently renamed the Belle Vivier. Josephine Baker, the Duchess of Windsor and Elizabeth Taylor counted among his celebrity clientele.
The house lay dormant for four years while Della Valle built his team, with Frisoni’s first collection hitting the market for the fall 2004 season. During his time there, he also headed up the house’s couture footwear line, which launched for spring 2007 and wrapped in fall 2010, segueing into the Rendez-Vous Limited Edition collection which was presented from fall 2010 to spring 2017, in tandem with the couture collections.
The footwear veteran, who halted his own signature shoe line in 2011, after 12 years in business, declined to comment on his future projects.