Inès de la Fressange on Roger Vivier and Why the Word 'Sexy' Has Been 'Ruining Fashion for 20 Years'

Roger Vivier--the brand credited with inventing the stiletto--has a long and rich history, all documented in the new Rizzoli tome Roger Vivier. To celebrate the release of the book, head designer Bruno Frisoni and brand ambassador Inès de la Fressange sat down with FIT's fashion historian Valerie Steele Wednesday evening to chat about the history of Roger Vivier and Frisoni's own creations for the brand.
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Roger Vivier--the brand credited with inventing the stiletto--has a long and rich history, all documented in the new Rizzoli tome Roger Vivier. To celebrate the release of the book, head designer Bruno Frisoni and brand ambassador Inès de la Fressange sat down with FIT's fashion historian Valerie Steele Wednesday evening to chat about the history of Roger Vivier and Frisoni's own creations for the brand.
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Roger Vivier--the brand credited with inventing the stiletto--has a long and rich history, all documented in the new Rizzoli tome Roger Vivier.

To celebrate the release of the book, head designer Bruno Frisoni and brand ambassador Inès de la Fressange sat down with FIT's fashion historian Valerie Steele Wednesday evening to chat about the history of Roger Vivier and Frisoni's own creations for the brand.

"If you want to seduce, maybe, or have fun you wear heels," Frisoni said of his ornate creations. "It can change your look, it can change your day, it can change your mood."

That beautiful sense of detail extends through the offices of Roger Vivier, also documented in the book, which Frisoni and de la Fressange both had a hand in remodeling. In Frisoni's office is a mirror that extends the length of one wall, but is cut so that only the legs can be seen--Frisoni's nod to the opening scene of François Truffaut's film L'Homme Qui Aimait les Femmes. In another part of the office, a beautiful staircase lined with photos of famous clients ends at a dead end wall.

"It's a reminder that vanity leads nowhere and things shouldn't always be useful," de la Fressange said of her creation.

Photograph courtesy The Museum at FIT

Photograph courtesy The Museum at FIT

And Roger Vivier has plenty celebrity fans to line that wall, like Jennifer Lawrence who carried a Vivier clutch on Oscar night--leading de la Fressange to call Vivier a celeb's "lucky charm." But the real crown jewel in Vivier's celebrity crown is Catherine Deneuve, who has been a fan since wearing the buckle pumps in Belle du Jour. Both Frisoni and de la Fressange gushed over Deneuve's natural sense of style, sharing that the quintessential French actress still shops for herself.

"People who have style, it is because they have an interest," de la Fressange said of Deneuve. "Most people have coaches." (And when Steele reminded her that they were called stylists, she quickly retorted, "Crutches!")

But don't wear Roger Vivier heels if you're trying to look sexy. "For me, sexy is a terrible word and it has been ruining fashion for 20 years," de le Fressange insisted. "Sexy is only if you feel sexy."

"Forget about being sexy!"

In a pair of Frisoni's gorgeous shoes, we're not so sure you could.