Comfort and style

Taking on a historic maison like Roger Vivier can feel daunting, but over a year in the role of creative director, Gherardo Felloni could not be happier. It has always been his dream to work for the luxury footwear brand, and in the short time he has managed to enhance the codes of the house while also adding contemporary twists to cater to the women of today.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Roger Vivier (@rogervivier) on

Felloni recently came to Dubai for the Roger Vivier dinner hosted but in collaboration Dinner Club 57. Held at a secret location with a select guest list of press and VIP’s, we used this as an opportunity to get to know the creative mind of Felloni and what he has in stall for the brand’s future.

Can you remember the first shoe you ever made?

My family has always worked in shoes so I have always been surrounded by shoes. When you start as a designer you always work for someone to learn, so if I had to choose it would be the shoes I proposed for a Miu Miu show 10 years ago. Glitter Mary Jane’s with a Swarovski heel, using a technique where crystals are inserted into the heel. I have them at my home on display.

What do you think women look for in shoes today?

Women are eclectic, for me it’s very difficult to define one woman. You may start your day with sneakers, then you finish with a high heel so it’s complicated to define. But I think in shoes, especially in luxury brand shoes, women look for something that is special, well-done, and of course comfortable. That is more relevant today than let’s say 10 years ago, which I like because I’m not a fan of extremely high-heels and torturing women. Women are more powerful in every part of the world, they have to walk and work.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Roger Vivier (@rogervivier) on

How do you think your designs appeals to Middle Eastern clients?

Last time I came to Dubai I had the chance to go to the Malls and I think that this city is really special. All the different women are here, you don’t feel like you’re far from the rest of the market. Here in Dubai there’s a lot of money so women are open to buy precious things. I feel that freedom to buy, that’s my impression.

Can you describe to us your creative work space?

It’s very colourful. I take inspiration from everything and my office is really organised. I like to work in the office with people. We are creative people but we are in a big business so you can’t forget deadlines, which in a way helps you work. My office was the first room I re-designed and painted it in pink and ordered a table from a designer that I love.

Any brand, even a historic Maison like Roger Vivier, has to evolve. How do you do it in the right way?

I always try to look at the archives from a right angle. It something that helps a designer, rather than overwhelms them. Starting from zero is harder than starting with something. It’s a question of balance, I have the archive and the heritage but at the same time my role, from my point view, is not to change everything and do something that is just you. It’s my interpretation of the brand because the brand has to survive today. You have to approach the younger generation, and it’s not a question of age, it’s a question of where we are and do something for today. When I arrived at the brand I created a running shoe, but there are codes of the Maison.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Roger Vivier (@rogervivier) on

How would you define your vision for the brand?

Fashion is something that has to offer happiness to women, that’s my vision. It’s closely linked to the Roger Vivier vision who was a happy man.

Talk us through the latest collection

Part of the collection still carries over because you have to capitalise on the pieces that have done well. There is a lot of newness, I introduced a wood clog with a jewel bucket. The attitude is a little more summary with a small group of sandals that feature feathers and raffia.

How do you spend your spare time?

I work a lot but I love to spend my time at home with my cat in my garden. I love buying antique jewellery at stores and auctions and I also sing. I’m a tenor so I really love opera and I perform in a chorus in Paris. I love musicals too, like Phantom of the Opera.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Roger Vivier (@rogervivier) on

What is your favourite type of accessory?

For myself, antique jewels. In general I think shoes are really important as they change your silhouette. Roger Vivier himself worked for the shows in the 50’s so he was part of the New Look change because he was really looking at the silhouette. You can’t do a show without shoes. Shoes change the way you walk, the attitude is different. When I worked at Miu Miu and Dior, they force you to do a show so you have to think beyond the beauty of shoes.

How has you father shaped you the shoe designer you are today?

My father encouraged me to be a designer. I didn’t want be a designer, I liked to sing and paint, then I thought I’d be an architect. I worked at the factory during the summer to get money for clothes and travel and through this I discovered that this is actually was my passion. When I draw shoes, especially when I do the last part, I think of my uncle and my father who always reminded me that women have to be comfortable. That’s really important, because comfort means confidence.

What lessons have you learnt from your time at Miu Miu and Dior?

Confidence to work on silhouette. That is why I decided to do Hotel Vivier and put the shoes one women rather than on display. The relationship between the shoes and the silhouette is very important and that’s what I got from Miuccia Prada, John Galliano and Raf Simons. I also learnt how to play with colours and shades, something you learn day by day.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Roger Vivier (@rogervivier) on

What is next for Roger Vivier?

I’m really happy with the result so far so I’d like to capitalise on that. I’ll be shooting a new Roger Vivier movie for social media, I like to keep the cinematography point of view in fashion. You will see it in January.

– For more about Dubai’s lifestyle, news and fashion scene straight to your newsfeed, follow us on Facebook

Media: Instagram, Supplied