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To wear dreams on oneís feet is to begin to give a reality to oneís dreams. -Roger Vivier

Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection focuses on the designer who was renowned for the bejewelled and elegantly sculptural shoes that he created throughout his life. Many of his innovations, such as the needle, choc and comma heels are as important in fashion today as when he first introduced them.

Vivier's career was established in the 1950s when he became the shoe designer for Christian Dior. During his time with Dior his shoes were the epitome of mid-century glamour and Vivier's early training in scuplture at …cole des Beaux Arts is evident in the sculptural heels and toes he designed for Dior. After Dior's death, Vivier continued to produce elegant footwear for the House of Dior but in 1963 he set out on his own. Among his many successes include the pilgrim buckle shoe popularized by Catherine Deneuve, which sold in the thousands, the thigh high boot popularized by Bridget Bardot and the reintroduction of the platform shoe.

Throughout his career, Vivier proved to be extremely responsive to cultural shifts and he remained devoted exploring the artistic potential of shoe design. Ever engaged in designing shoes, Vivier worked right up until his death in 1998 at the age of 90. Throughout his illustrious career Vivier ceaselessly sought to refine his process and continually strove for perfection.

The focus Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection is the working process of Vivier and his masterpieces of shoe design. The Bata Shoe Museum's Vivier holdings will be complemented by loans from world-renowned institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Deutsch Ledermuseum in Germany and the Roger Vivier brand.

Visitors to the exhibition will see never before exhibited drawings by Vivier and pull-overs designed for Christian Dior which illuminate his working process. Visitors will also be able to see the jewels of his oeuvre----the shoes that his working process wrought into perfection.

Click here to the see the Bata Shoe Museum's full slate of programming to accompany this exhibition.

Bottine by Roger Vivier for Christian Dior, French, 1961.
Blue silk satin, blue cotton lace, glass beads, sequins, leather. Gift of Valerian Stux-Rybar, 1980

One of the most famous of Vivierís designs is an evening bottine from 1961. It was a confection of lace embellished with beads, sequins, couched silk ribbon and silver embroidery balanced on a thin needle heel of moderate height. A series of drawings in the Bata Shoe Museum collection shows that Vivier returned to this design again in 1963 although it doesnít appear to have gone back into production.
Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Photo credit: Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY

Gold velvet shoe with elaborately embellished high tongue designed by Roger Vivier, French, 1964.
One theme that Vivier returned to again and again over the course of his career was the elongated tongue. This style adorned low-heeled shoes as well as high-heeled shoes as seen in the drawings displayed here. Frequently these evening shoes were made of velvet and the tongues were typically embellished with heavy beading. This single gold mule must have been one of Vivierís favourite shoes as he was frequently photographed with it and he kept it in his own personal collection until the 1980s.
Collection of Roger Vivier, Paris
Photo credit: Image copyright © 2012 Roger Vivier, Paris (Photo: Aguttes/Aubert)

Roger Vivier for German tannery Heyl-Libenau, French, 1934. Dyed and printed leather, rhinestone, metal.
This sample shoe was designed by Roger Vivier for the German tannery Heyl-Libenau in the 1934 and offers insight into the designerís earliest work. A recent discovery by Chief Curator Rosita Nenno of the Deutsches Ledermuseum of a number of Vivierís early shoes demonstrate his inventive use of texture and pattern as well as colour. Vivierís lifelong affinity for asymmetry is also evident in these early prototypes.
Collection of DLM Deutsches Ledermuseum Schuhmuseum Offenbach, T 1685.
Photo credit: Copyright: DLM Deutsches Ledermuseum Offenbach. Corinna Perl-Appl

Matching shoes and handback, Roger Vivier, French, c.1965.
Ivory silk satin with pink, Kelly green, lime green, turquoise, teal, purple and gold.

When Catherine Denueve wore a pair of Vivierís ďpilgrim buckleĒ shoes in the 1967 movie Belle de jour, their popularity was cemented and they were christened with a new name, Belle de jour. Vivierís buckle shoes were soon found on the feet of Jacqueline Onassis and Marlene Dietrich among others. Vivier sold tens of thousands of pairs and it became one of the most widely copied and enduring fashions of the 1960s. Throughout the decade Vivier designed variations of the buckle shoe making versions for both day and evening. The ornamentation on a pair of shoes in the Bata Shoe Museum collection is limited to the scattering of coloured rhinestones on the gold buckle but its psychedelic fabric engages the eye. This pair of shoes came with a matching handbag that was part of Vivierís new line of purses which he began to offer in 1964.
Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum
Photo credit: Image copyright © 2012 Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada (photo: Ron Wood)






The Bata Shoe Museum gratefully acknowledges Roger Vivier's assistance
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