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Why I love Roger Vivier |


Why I love Roger Vivier

LIFE AND STYLE - Millet M. Mananquil - The Philippine Star
Why I love Roger Vivier
Museum-worthy Roger Vivier shoes are on display at the Louvre in Paris, MoMA in NYC and Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Because yes, they are works of art. And they are here at the RV store in Greenbelt 3, Makati.

I must confess, I have a shoe fetish. Not in the kinky way you might be thinking of. For me, shoes convey artistry, reveal a passion, and tell a backstory.

A shoe brand that has always fascinated me is Roger Vivier. It spells a unique character and quality. But I love it for two more reasons, which I shall explain later.

French designer Roger Henri Vivier is called “the Fragonard of the Shoe,” and his shoes, “the Fabergé of Footwear.” So says Estelle Hu-Pirot, RV’s Southeast Asia head of sales, who was in town recently to launch RV in its new store in Greenbelt 3, together with Stores Specialists, Inc. president Anton T. Huang and RV general manager Mario Katigbak.

The chic Estelle was, of course, wearing a stiletto that is very Roger Vivier. RV designed the first stiletto heel in 1954. And if you look at the price, your jaw might drop a bit.

“You are paying for engineering,” once said Michael Fink, senior fashion director of Saks Fifth. “RV shoes have a unique curved heel, and the way it is attached to the shoe is very difficult and mechanical.”

No wonder that Roger Vivier (Nov. 18, 1907- Oct. 2,1998) was called the “architect of heels” with much respect.

From 1953 to 1963, Vivier designed shoes for Christian Dior. He also famously made low-heeled pumps with silver buckles for Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 Mondrian collection worn by Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour. RV also designed boots for Rudolf Nureyev’s performance of Swan Lake. He also designed shoes for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. Yes, Vivier shoes have heritage and history, but like all good things, have evolved with the modern times. Vivier’s clients, from Ava Gardner to the Beatles, loved his style, which has that timeless appeal.

The famous buckle and the curved heel set RV shoes apart from the rest.

Now, why do I love Roger Vivier? I associate his beautiful shoe creations with another thing I love: K-dramas.

In the popular Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, RV shoes make a grand entrance as early as Episode 1. The pumps — in fabric with a bejeweled buckle crafted in flower-shaped crystal applique and thin heels — are owned by the lead character portrayed by actress-model Shin Min-a.

It was this pair of shoes that led her to an encounter with the lead character played by Kim Seon-ho. And it was the same pair that was her wedding shoes in the finale. Yes, I am a sucker for romantic K-dramas. In this case, the be-dimpled couple lived happily ever after, with Roger Vivier.

Shin Min-a wore several pairs of Vivier in this K-drama about a city dentist who quit her city job and moved to the seaside village of Gongjin. But first she gifted herself with — what else, but RV shoes!

Another reason why I look at RV shoes with fondness is that it reminds me of my favorite dish — Lobster Linguine — in a pre-pandemic favorite restaurant, Cafe Landmark, which I may not be able to revisit for a long, long time. Because it is located in Hong Kong. Specifically at Landmark Atrium in Central Hong Kong. A visit to Hong Kong was never complete without a taste of Lobster Linguine.

Whether for lunch, afternoon snack or dinner, Cafe Landmark was always full and you had to join the queue to get a table. The first time we queued, I noticed a Roger Vivier store slightly above eye level. It was calling me. So I left the queue and let my companions text me when a table was ready.

There, I bought my first pair of RV shoes. It was love at first sight. How could I not love it with its signature buckle atop well-made shoes that still look brand-new today! It was Lobster Linguine that led me to these quality shoes.

Today, I need not go to Hong Kong to check on stocks of RV shoes. Or to Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris to see the latest styles, especially the rubber shoes. Roger Vivier has come to Manila.

Model-actress Shin Min-a met her beloved Kim Seon-ho in the K-drama Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, thanks to a pair of Roger Vivier shoes. It was also her shoes at their wedding.

* * *

The new Roger Vivier store is located in Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati.

Follow the author on Instagram and Facebook @milletmartinezmananquil. Email her at and

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