Virgule, Etc. is the name of the retrospective exhibit at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris that celebrates the contributions of French shoe designer Roger Vivier. The exhibit is set up as though it were a permanent museum dedicated to shoes. Intermingled with shoes from the company’s archives, the musée de la chaussure in Romans, France, the Bata shoe museum in Toronto, and the Metropolitan in New York are copies of works from the Louvre or the Prado that inspired the designer.

exposition-roger-vivier-palais-de-tokyo_4059027Vivier began his career in the 30s and the 140 pairs of shoes in the exhibit follow the arc of his designs. He saw shoes as sculpture and he never ceased to question how the basic design could be tweaked. “Lines have always enthralled me,” he said. “I’ll re-sketch my drawing five hundred times to check the exactness of the idea and respect the foot’s architecture.”

roger-vivier-evening-boot-1961-vogue-30jul13-getty_bThe heel of a shoe received Vivier’s particular attention. He launched the stiletto in 1954, the “Etrave” in 1958, and the “Choc” in 1959. But is it the “Virgule” (veergool) that is most indelibly associated with the brand since it first punctuated a pump in 1963 when Vivier launched his own brand. Prior to that, he had collaborated with Christian Dior and other designers.

Roger-Vivier-Palais-Tokyo-04Some of the well-heeled women who have worn Vivier’s creations include Queen Elizabeth for her coronation, the Duchess of Windsor, Princess Soraya of Iran, Marlène Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor, Jeanne Moreau, Brigitte Bardot, and Catherine Deneuve. She wore his flats with the square silver buckle in her film “Belle du Jour” and suddenly flats were as sexy as high heels.

talons-roger-vivier-dessins-expo-palais-de-tokyoAfter Vivier’s death, the popularity of the shoes declined. But creative director Bruno Frisoni gave the heels a lift when he took over in 2002. And when the embodiment of Parisian chic, Inès de la Fressange, began kicking up her heels as the brand ambassador, Roger Vivier was re-born. Now a whole new generation of style icons, such Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts are regularly photographed wearing Roger Vivier shoes.

13, avenue du Président Wilson,
75 116 Paris

From now until October 21 – 12:00 to 21:00
From October 23 to November 18 – 12:00 to midnight

41yXLQ5OMIL__SL75_Roger Vivier

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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1 Response to Virgule

  1. Pingback: La Parisienne | One quality, the finest.

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