Bruno Frisoni, the creative director of shoe and accessory house Roger Vivier, is elegant and utterly charming. Open and engaging and flawlessly dressed, he embodies the Old World charm and sophistication of the heritage brand he runs. Indeed, the long-time favorite shoe line of gamin girls everywhere is infused with Frisoni’s playful, thoughtful, and modern sensibility.
In town for a few days—he will make a personal appearance Wednesday at the Roger Vivier boutique at South Coast Plaza—Frisoni sat down with Stuff We Love at the Sunset Tower Hotel in Hollywood. The designer and his staff were thrilled to be in sunny L.A. on a day when, as he said, “winter returned” to Paris.
Over espresso, we talked about drawing inspiration from Roger Vivier’s history and why updating and changing while maintaining timelessness is crucial. Hint: It’s not the influence of so-called “street style” or the new trend toward purchasing right from the runway (“see-now-buy-now) that matters.
“This is not relevant, what’s happening on the internet or whatever the immediacy is, because what is important is what you will see in 20 years. So what is left in 20 years is what matters.”
Frisoni, using inspiration from the archives of Roger Vivier—inventor of the stiletto heel, who designed shoe collections for Dior, Saint Laurent, and others—has created a spring/summer 2016 collection and an autumn 2016 collection.
For spring, Frisoni channeled ‘70s Pop art for the “sneaky Viv” collection and added patchwork denim platforms. Inspired by an archival Pop art floral print and a ‘70s circa Helmut Newton photo of a young Angelica Houston wearing wide-legged trousers and chunky platforms, Frisoni said he was struck by the intersection of masculinity and femininity in the photo.
“It’s a picture of a woman, but she’s wearing menswear in a way a man would never do. She’s a very beautiful woman, incredible, tall … I found it very contemporary because what I like is the strong spirit. She’s not a pinup,” he says.
For autumn, Frisoni dreamed up a collection of sneakers, shoes, and bags inspired by houndstooth checks, and silk de chine watercolor prints. The autumn collection, which Frisoni showcased in an exhibition on nude models dressed only in bags and shoes, is a tad more rock-and-roll than previous collections. There is a studded silver bag to die for, and the collection features “it girl” booties with 1950’s-era rounded buckles as well as evening shoes with sparkly globes on the stiletto heels—an embellishment Roger Vivier himself created for Marlene Dietrich.
Another Frisoni innovation is the “Viv,” a demure, classic cross-body bag featuring the house’s iconic buckle. The “Viv” hangs on a flat, not rounded, chain, making it miles more comfortable than many cross-body bags. And just saying the name seems to delight Frisoni.
“I called it ‘Viv’ because it’s quick and compact, like the bag,” he says. At the same time, the Viv reflects that sense of modernity and timelessness Frisoni seeks to communicate.
“It has everything, a buckle that looks like a bangle, and the construction is very specific,” he says. “From far away you can recognize the bag, but there is nothing that that is too extremely designed about it. Because I love to decorate pieces but I also like the minimalism. If a piece is clean you can do whatever you want, but if a piece is already busy, what can you do but make it baroque? When you have a very clean image or piece to start with, as a base, you can keep it for a very long time and it can evolve.
“That’s mostly what I love in design. I think good design is design that can stay—it’s not design that is only for five minutes. Fashion has to be for five minutes, but design is not.”
Meet Bruno Frisoni
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, April 27
Where: Roger Vivier Boutique, South Coast Plaza