Fashion Designer

Gherardo Felloni

Written by Saul Taylor

There is a fashion designer that all other fashion designers have been talking about. Gherardo Felloni’s appointment as creative director of the revered French accessories house Roger Vivier in March 2018 was seen as a stroke of genius by the industry. To Introduce his first collection for Roger Vivier, Felloni dreamed up “Hotel Vivier” — an imaginary hotel where different women artists live under the same roof. The represented liberated, contemporary and eclectic characters framed in a cinematographic quality in the intimate setting.  Stepping through the doors of ‘Hotel Vivier’ is like walking into a sequence of scenes from a film. At the intersection of fiction and reality, the experience feels both familiar and unexpected. It is a fascinating place where visitors are invited to discover the world of Roger Vivier. Hotel Vivier debuted in Paris in September 2018 and was followed by Tokyo, Sydney, Hong Kong, New York and Los Angeles.

Where did the fascination for shoes come from?

I come from a small town in Tuscany where my family owns a luxury shoe atelier. I learned all the details and the technical knowledge about shoe design from my father and uncle. After working with my family I went to Milan in 2000 to work at Miu Miu. After that — 10 years ago — I was given the chance to go to Paris to work at Dior. And therein lies a link with Monsieur Vivier, who also designed collections for Christian Dior.

How would you describe your own personal style?

It’s difficult to talk about myself. In general, it’s other people who tell me how they see my personal style, which I think is better.

How would you describe your design style?

True to the Roger Vivier aesthetic, it is certainly not minimalist. I like rich design, embellishments and embroideries. I love colour, I am very eclectic and I love mixing different styles in my designs.

How did your appointment as creative director of Roger Vivier come about?

Working for Vivier has always been one of my dreams, he was a genius. I was on cloud nine when they called and told me, “Vivier is looking for you!”. I was really happy because I finally had the chance to touch the shoes that I saw in books and museums.

What does Roger Vivier represent to you?

Roger Vivier is a maison with exceptional heritage and the archives are a source of inspiration for any designer. Monsieur Vivier was a remarkable pioneer who reinvented and reimagined women’s shoes by transforming them into works of art or beautiful sculptures.

Tell us about your original concept for Hotel Vivier.

The concept for Hotel Vivier came from the different women who inspire me every day. Women with different artistic personalities — an opera singer, a photographer, a sculptor. Over the years, I’ve gone on a journey to discover these different characters and for Hotel Vivier I wanted my guests to make their own discoveries at every turn and inside every room, meeting these interesting and inspiring women.

Then you brought the Hotel Vivier experience to Los Angeles. Describe the night.

It was a beautiful and fun evening. There was a lot of humour and laughter, which was good because the event was made for that. We wanted to incorporate the spirit of Hotel Vivier Paris to Hotel Vivier in LA and we accomplished that.

Who were some of your favourite guests at the event?

The event was well-attended and I am thankful for that. I loved having Cristina Ricci because she is one of my dream actresses. There was a good mix of people, plus celebrities that I admire, such as Mandy Moore, Halston Sage, Callee Spaeny and, of course, Patricia Arquette.

What makes a great event?

For me, a beautiful event is when all the important elements are coherent and everything is coordinated. And it went so well in Hotel Vivier LA because, normally, when a party is successful nobody wants to leave – and that’s what happened!