The medieval, the maiden and the modern all come out to play on Roger Vivier’s collections.

Borrowing elements and inspirations from his personal interests, Creative Director Gherardo Felloni, continues to carry on the brand’s heritage, crafting old-school poetic classics with a modern twist.

Here, Gherardo shares with Emirates Woman his incredible background, supreme leather work, and exceptionally graceful design ethos.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?

I really love these few quiet moments before a long day to take care of myself with a quick makeover (hairdressing always takes a little longer!) then I dress up and it can take a while to find jewels from my collection to match my outfit. It’s all in the details!

“It’s both a legacy and a huge professional and personal challenge to follow in the footsteps of a brilliant designer.”

What is it like to be part of a brand with such a rich and storied heritage?

I’ve always been obsessed with Roger Vivier, the man, and his work. It was my dream to succeed him, and I feel very privileged to be able to realize this ambition. It’s both a legacy and a huge professional and personal challenge to follow in the footsteps of a brilliant designer.

You were born in Tuscany into a family of footwear artisans. How did that shape you as a designer?

I grew up in an environment that encouraged creativity. My childhood in Italy fed my curiosity and helped me in developing my appreciation for artistry and craftsmanship. I had many interests: flowers, animals, architecture and drawing. As a child, I did everything with my hands: cutting, drawing, painting. These passions are still part of my daily life and my work.

You worked under Helmut Lang and spent a decade on the footwear and accessories department at Miu Miu, Prada, and Christian Dior. What did you learn during your time there?

From almost more than 20 years working in the shoe industry, there have been 2 milestones in my career before Roger Vivier. During my younger years in my family’s atelier, I studied technical knowledge and the value of craftsmanship. Then, when working with in major fashion houses, I learnt about the importance of shoes to complete the silhouette—they’re fundamental.

What are your main passions in life and does that influence your creative process?

I have this culture of Opera, cinema, theatre, musical comedy, and cabaret that are my main sources of inspiration. It’s reflected through all the details (bows, strass, feathers, jewels) I work with. Monsieur Vivier imagined fanciful creations and I’m keen to pursue this joyful legacy that matches my own passions.

How do you measure success? Is it sticking to your aesthetic and what you think is right, or is it pleasing the industry tastemakers and reaching bigger sales numbers?

As Creative Director, I need to find the balance between my personal insights, the tremendous legacy of Maison Vivier and the global trends we observe. For sure we have a look at numbers, but I truly think Roger Vivier cultivates its own uniqueness in the shoe industry and succeeds in combining the timelessness of iconic collections and fashion statements.

“A big part of my work is believing in my ideas and carrying them through to propose something new each season.”

What is most important to you when building a new collection?

I have a very spontaneous personality while creating but at the same time, very methodical. Inspiration is everywhere (and there’s a part of inexplicable with an intuition for a shape, a color, a detail) but you need to know how to canalize it. A big part of my work is believing in my ideas and carrying them through to propose something new each season.

If you had to pick one hero product from the entire FW23 line-up as your favourite, which one would it be?

For sure, the new Viv’ Choc handbag is a tribute to leatherworking expertise and the Haute Couture draping technique. Its soft calfskin is worked like satin in puffed and rounded volumes. It’s a very contemporary creation with its tone-on-tone links. The Viv’ Choc twists the ladylike codes of a classic handbag into an objet d’art.

Which styles sell out season after season in the Middle East?

For shoes, best-sellers are the slingbacks (Belle Vivier, Viv’ in the City) or mules and the very precious bags with refined details (strass buckles or embroideries).

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Images: Supplied by Roger Vivier