February 29 2012
Although it is part of the large Tod’s Group, Roger Vivier still seems like a traditional luxury shoe brand: shops only in carefully chosen locations, interesting and distinctive designs perfectly executed and finished, and a designer – Bruno Frisoni – who brings his own touch of wit and quirkiness to his variations on the themes laid down by the house’s founder in the 1950s. That distinctive rectangular buckle, the curved architectural heels or a hand-whorled silk rose on shoe or bag – all bring a little flutter to a fashionista’s heart.
The shopping experience is always delightful, too – the staff make you feel as if you are the only one who counts. Now it is about to become even more special. Frisoni is a genuinely creative designer who likes to practise his talents on materials and crafts that are too painstaking and precious for full-scale commercial production, but can be ordered. This secret little Rendez-Vous collection has been going for three seasons, and each time its gorgeous examples go on a short tour of the brand’s top stores, to be viewed by appointment, and it is London’s turn on March 1 and 2.
The theme this year is Mediterranean glamour, but in Frisoni’s hands this is far from literal. He loves experimental materials – this time a smooth, thin, beautifully grained wood reminiscent of a yacht deck, used as a delicate marquetry on bags or heels, or hand-printed on to fine leather (Bamboo High shoe, first picture, and Drape High shoe, third picture). There is also hand-pleated fabric like the draping on a classical statue (Drape Belle clutch, second picture) and marine-looking encrustations of jewels, including coral and turquoise, a profusion of silk flowers and flexible metallic basketweave – at prices from £350 for shoes and £1,750 for bags.
If it sounds more like jewellery than shoes and bags, these rare pieces bear that comparison – truly a bag (and shoe) for life.