While we have expressed our love for the beautifully designed shoes of Roger Vivier in our shoe issue, there’s a stark difference between seeing something on the page and seeing something in real life. Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum’s current exhibit Process to Perfection features some of Vivier’s most stunning works. Not only is it a good complement to our article (hint hint), it also acts as an informative look into the life and working process of the renowned shoe designer.
The artifacts in this exhibit come from the Bata Shoe Museum’s holdings, as well as the Roger Vivier Brand, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Deutsches Ledermuseum in Germany, with each institution helping to document the history of Vivier’s rise to mastery of his craft. While the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Roger Vivier Brand may provide elegant examples of Vivier’s distinct aesthetic such as the Pilgrim buckle and the perfection of the stiletto heel, pieces of the process of “becoming” Vivier can be found elsewhere. For example, many sketches, as well as “pullover” prototypes from the archives at the Bata Shoe Museum are included in the display, alongside some of Vivier’s earliest prototypes created while working at a German leather company during the ’30s. These pieces were only recently discovered as a part of Vivier’s material legacy, given the fact they were created prior to his fame as a designer.
Vivier’s work has become so ubiquitous in ’50s cinema that to see his work broken down to its elements is a reminder of all the work that exists behind some of the most iconic shoes.
further information // Roger Vivier film and lecture series, on through April 2013
further reading // Rea McNamara on Vivier in issue 8′s “Belle Pied”
illustration // Solange Yepez
Tell me about one of the items you’re wearing.
The bow shoes I had just received in the mail the day before I came into the WORN office, so I was too excited to show them off. After searching for flats that I liked all over the city and coming up empty handed, I saw these on Etsy and immediately ordered them without even blinking (it helped that I have a huge girl crush on the seller too). I don’t think I had ever bought an item of clothing before 9 a.m. before.
What inspired this outfit?
Sunshine, summer, bike rides, and cupcakes. It was Anna Wornette’s birthday, and birthdays always tend to bring out the ultra-girly side of me.
What’s the best book to read in this outfit?
Pale and loose summer dresses, such as this one, always remind of Cecilia from The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides. He character wears a vintage wedding dress up until — spoiler alert — she commits suicide. The novel is so romantic and melancholic, I could definitely picture myself reading it in this outfit, sprawled on some grassy patch.
What style icon would wear this outfit?
Most style icons that would wear something like this are all probably under five feet tall and enrolled in Brownies. Michelle Tanner, perhaps?
The dress is from Urban Outfitters, and the crochet cardigan is from Value Village. The watch was a gift from my best friend, but I think it was found at Value as well. As mentioned, the shoes were purchased on Etsy, from KenndeyHolmes’ lovely shop.
I’m big on lists. I write them in my planner, on scraps of paper (when said planner is unavailable), and when things get really desperate, in smudgy scribbles on my hands. My favorite type is of the “to buy” assortment, although mine always seems to grow and can never be completed, creating one giant, ongoing list. Almost every time I head to a shop, be it alone or with friends, for large pieces of furniture or just groceries, I will secretly be clutching a list detailing exactly what I’d like to buy. There’s just one problem: no matter what I have on my list, I somehow always end up bringing home the same thing. Shoes.
Last weekend, I went out looking for a vintage trunk to use as a coffee table in my new place. What did I come home with? Vintage suede slippers with a delicately embroidered toe in a delicious olive green. A few weeks earlier, it was black patent vintage Ferragamos with a fabric bow and gold detailing, a pair so precious they managed to trump my basic food needs for the week. No matter how final my lists are on paper, my mind always seems to have a subconscious agenda that constantly pulls me to the footwear department, distracting me from the things I actually need.
A while back, we had a contest to win a pair of heels (as seen in WORN issue 10). Masami, our winner, just sent me images of her wearing the shoes. “I love them and got so many compliments!” she says. “The color is a dead ringer for my mom’s vintage shawl and it offsets my mostly black and grey wardrobe so well.”
Doesn’t she look cute?
- Anna Fitzpatrick