No woman is immune to him. Seduction, the life-blood of his art, is evident in the luxurious folds of a full-bodied bloom; in toes wrapped in python and bound by zippers. A glimpse of the single thorn adorning a blood-red spike elicits sharp intakes of breath, and the pain is made all the more poignant when one realizes that the source of desire is out of reach--at least for the 99 percent of us who are confined by a budget.
Lucky for you and me, the advice of Bruno Frisoni, Creative Director of Roger Vivier is free--and just as priceless as his shoes. After a being interviewed by Pamela Golbin as part of the Fashion Talks lecture series at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York, Mr. Frisoni offers a few words of wisdom to the readers of The Huffington Post and deftly fends off cries of American pragmatism.
Do you condone the act of wearing sneakers or flip-flops with a suit on the way to work so that one can change into a pair of vertiginous heels at the office?
To me, sneakers with a suit is a little passé, no?
Well, flip flops with a suit then.
Well, nothing is to be condemned. That is very New York, because in Paris they would keep the sneakers on at the office. I think what is wrong to me is that the shoe is not comfortable enough that you can wear it from the moment you leave the house to the office. So maybe they could find the right shoe which could do both. I don't especially like sneakers because I think they are good for running, for the weekend, but for the rest...no.
Podiatrists everywhere agree that high heels are bad for the feet and bad for the back. What is your defense?
Well, when I go see them they say I shouldn't change my line of work because it brings them customers. You have to wear the right shoes for you. There are a lot of people who are not able to wear flats, they can only walk on high heels. One person the other day, she was very small and she was wearing flats. When I noticed this she said "Oh, this is not my usual habit, there is something wrong with my feet so I cannot wear high heels." I said "yes, but you know, you don't have to wear high heels because you have the right proportions." If you don't feel it, you don't have to do it. A lot of people feel pain when they wear high heels and it's wrong.
Véronique Nichanian says she often wears the men's clothes she designs for Hermes. Have you ever tried on the shoes you design?
No. It is very nice to hear when customers come to you and say "You know, your shoes are very sexy, very high, but so comfortable." People say that to me, so I trust them.
What is better: having many cheap shoes in a variety of styles and colors, or having very few pairs of expensive, high-quality shoes?
What is best is the second opportunity. You don't need so many things. We are always surrounded with too many pieces, with too many bad things, too many possibilities that we don't use. For example your phone, and my phone. It does pictures, it does a lot of things I won't do. I use it as a phone. And maybe sometimes I take a picture, maybe sometimes I save something in the memory--but I use only about 20 percent of its capacity. To me it is the same with shoes, with clothes. We buy a lot of stuff, but we use about 20 percent. So you better go to the thing you really like, even if you will have to pay for it. If you have to wait until you are able to afford the thing--then when you have it, you will use it. If it's easy to get, you don't consider it.
What kind of shoes should be staples in a woman's shoe wardrobe?
The pump--a regular pump, very sexy. The boot. And, I would say, a beautiful pair of sandals. Evening sandals. So you have three opportunities.
People often use accessories as an inexpensive way to create many different looks. But is there one accessory that a woman should spend the most on, buying the highest quality she can afford?
To me, the shoes have always been very important. A good pair of shoes you can wear them always. You don't need every day a bag, but the shoes you always need them.
What is one tip you would give a woman about buying a pair of shoes?
Let speak the desire. It's all about seduction--if you are alive. When you stop trying to seduce or be seduced it is all over. So you can buy shoes to seduce. Or go to the hair dresser.
What advice would you give a woman who wants to be stylish and sexy?
Whether it be shoes, hair, all the extremities are very important because they are some of the first things you see on people. They should be really perfect. You should do the best you can because you play with the legs, and you see the shoes--it is more important for seduction. When you speak, you use your hands, you move your hands. So if you feel good you will show it.
Bruno Frisoni became Creative Director of Roger Vivier in 2004, following in the footsteps of the legendary footwear designer whose Pilgrim shoe adorned with its iconic buckle graced the feet of Catherine Deneuve in Belle de jour. Born in France to Italian parents, Frisoni began his career working for designers such as Jean-Louis Scherrer, Lanvin, and Christian Lacroix, and later went on to work with Yves Saint Laurent. Frisoni launched his own shoe collection in 1999. At Roger Vivier, Frisoni has reinvigorated the brand by updating signature Vivier motifs--like the buckle and the Shock Heel--and incorporating them into his modern designs.
The next lecture in the Fashion Talks with Pamela Golbin series at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) in New York will feature Olivier Theyskens, Artistic Director for Nina Ricci, and will take place at 7pm on Friday, December 7, 2007. For more information and to buy tickets visit Fiaf.org. Pamela Golbin is curator of Twentieth-century and Contemporary Fashion at the Musée de la Mode et du Textile in Paris. Golbin recently organized the exhibition Balenciaga Paris and authored the book of the same name, which she presented at FIAF earlier this year.