Dior by Roger Vivier
Photographs by Gérard Uféras.Words by Elizabeth Semmelhack
Rizzoli New York
Shoemaker Roger Vivier designed the boldest shapes and the most highly decorative motifs for the House of Dior, making the shoes into veritable jewels used to accessorise the Dior look until 1963. Published by Editions Rizzoli, the Dior by Roger Vivier book recounts this historic working relationship.
1953-1963. The working relationship between the House of Dior and Roger Vivier only lasted ten years, but left a lasting impression on Dior style. "My friend Roger Vivier puts shoes on the most elegant feet in the world, helping me to realise my own dream of dressing the "Christian Dior" woman from head to toe", wrote the couturier in his memoirs.
Roger Vivier and Christian Dior shared many affinities. The first shoes designed by the shoemaker made their appearance in July, as part of the Autumn-Winter 1953 show.
From 1954, the whimsical creativity of one complemented the architectural vision of the other. Everything inspired Roger Vivier. What did he do with the couturier’s favourite flower, the lily-of-the-valley? He produced silk versions to decorate his delicate sandals. In 1955, a removable rhinestone ball was used to enhance the end of a heel, which narrowed into a sharp point. It was a resounding success.
Shortly afterwards came the ingenious paradoxical idea that involved cutting the tapered toe of a high-heeled shoe and making it a finely chiselled square; or sculptural, rounded and gathered, like the Gazelle from 1957, under the aegis of Yves Saint Laurent. In the era of this young Artistic Director came the curved Choc heel that Roger Vivier designed for the Spring-Summer 1959 collection, as well as the lower Tibet heel, shaped like an inverted pyramid.
In 1961, Marc Bohan replaced Yves Saint Laurent. Roger Vivier made a return to ornamentation. Following on from the Virgule (comma) heel, he invented the revolutionary five centimetre New Style heel in 1962.
Resembling real works of art, these shoes were worn by the biggest stars and friends of the House of Dior, including Marlène Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly.
Enriched by the precision of the words by Elizabeth Semmelhack*, the publication highlights the creative friendship of two French fashion icons, as well as the endless lavish details on the high-heeled shoes in pink satin or toile de Jouy printed cotton ottoman, adorned with feathers, sequins and gemstones, captured in stylish and detailed photographs by Gérard Uféras.
*Fashion historian and curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.
See the first few pages