Conversation With: Roger Vivier’s Bruno Frisoni
Many of modern footwear’s most iconic designs trace their steps to the atelier of Roger Vivier, a French shoe designer credited with refining the stiletto heel, popularizing thigh-high boots and partnering with Yves St. Laurent for the iconic Pilgrim-buckle flats Catherine Deneuve wore in 1967’s “Belle de Jour.” The rich history of that design enterprise has been mined since 2003 when Tod’s owner Diego Della Valle relaunched the Roger Vivier brand and appointed Bruno Frisoni creative director of the Paris-based accessories company. A frequent visitor to Los Angeles, the elegant, intellectual Frenchman says he is often inspired by “the cool way of living” in Southern California. “Everyone is a star here, even the sun… The nearby desert, architecture, the great houses and interior/exterior way of living provide much inspiration, for colors, shape, everything.” Frisoni channels what he sees into reinventing the maison with modern accessories. The geometric and faceted Prismick collection has already become a house icon for the present day.
NMdaily: What is it like to step into the shoes of a well-known designer and his namesake company and bring it into another era?
Bruno Frisoni: Mr. Vivier was the great master of shoes, who seduced the great names like Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, as well as celebrities like Marlene Dietrich, Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Soraya, The Queen of England for her coronation in 1953. Having said this, when we started working on the relaunch and strategy of the brand, we knew from the very beginning that one thing we really wanted was to respect the name of Roger Vivier and company, but also transform the brand into a luxury maison of accessories. And I can say today that we have achieved the goal.
NMd: How do you absorb the feeling of the person, Mr. Roger Vivier?
BF: As a fan of his work, it has always been a fantastic inspiration for me. It’s great to have such history and archives to work with, even if I like the distance, because time changes, and style, too. But there is still lot to pick from, at the right time of course.
NMd: Will the iconic silver buckle continue to be a part of the line?
BF: The buckle will always be the most iconic element of the Roger Vivier brand, be it on shoes, bags or other smaller accessories. It will always stay in the collection. The buckle was born in 1965. It is our “logo,” our trademark. Yet today we are ready to also move away from the buckle, and that is why I have designed the new Prismick line, which is a collection of shoes, bags, clutches and accessories that do not carry the buckle. Prismick has already become our new icon after the buckle—and a huge success. The iconicity and legitimacy of Prismick stands on its geometry with prism shapes that can be found in either architecture and art that inspired me, and most of all in the collages by Mr. Vivier himself, who used to play with those shapes to make beautiful art.
NMd: The Prismick collection looks like a 3-D collage. Did the complex construction require more technical assistance, such as computer modeling?
BF: The Prismick collection has some novelty in its construction. It is all about geometry and volume, and the technical team does work on computer to figure out the perfect match of each prism piece before launching the production. But it is necessary to check the real pieces, too, in order to understand if the bag will fall into the correct shape once worn.
NMd: Can you describe how former model and muse Ines de la Fressange inspires the collection? What is her history with Roger Vivier?
BF: Ines is the ambassador of the brand and was chosen in 2002 because she embodies the Parisian chic more than any other French figure. She is one of the most elegant women in the world. She is the most fun and has a great sense of style; everyone loves her. She brings a light spirit to the brand. It’s always good to have her fashion insight.
NMd: Roger Vivier is so well known for flats. Today, wearing flats is almost an act of defiance against the high, high heels and platforms that we’ve seen. What attitude do you like to give your flats?
Flats are the ever-young and cool look — very easy, stylish and fashionable. Whatever the love for heels, every woman has flats. —Bruno Frisoni
Roger Vivier is available at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills.