The Moment: “Elegance is not only the clothes you wear, it is in the way you are,” Bruno Frisoni said to me recently on a visit to New York. “It’s the way you talk, the way you move, the way you do.”
Over breakfast at the Carlyle, he was wearing the perfect white shirt and jeans, while looking pitifully upon the sports jacket I had inelegantly wadded onto the corner of a banquette. Well, I’ve always thought of Frisoni, creative director of Roger Vivier, as one of fashion’s most elegant men and a terrific example of a designer with the perfect approach to reviving a luxury brand.
He has methodically created an image of Vivier that recalls its heritage connections to Marlene Dietrich and Catherine Deneuve while equally projecting a sense of forward movement. The night before, Frisoni had been on stage at the Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars, receiving an award presented to him by Katie Holmes, one of the many celebrity fans of the label today.
The key to his success, he said, has been to take things slowly, which is a luxury itself in today’s hyper-paced fashion industry, which has suffered its share of high-profile casualties in recent weeks. Raf Simons walked away from Dior, and Alber Elbaz was pushed out of Lanvin, and there’s been no shortage of discussion of the phenomenon of designer burnout ever since.
“There is a general feeling, not only from designers, that fashion is becoming in the end just for image exchange, which is kind of an empty thing,” Frisoni said. Like Elbaz and Simons, he called for designers to recognize the value of their time.
Why It's a Wow: It has taken Frisoni just over a decade to achieve the possibilities he once imagined for Vivier, “something that is different, something more fashionable and less conventional,” he said. “We are right now in the moment when people can see there is something really new.”
Sneakers are a perfect metaphor. Such a casual style would have once seemed the antithesis of Vivier’s image of high-class sex appeal, but “you don’t even have to question yourself about including them today,” Frisoni said. “Of course, if there was going to be a Vivier sneaker, it had had to be a status sneaker.”
This means crystals and buckles, naturally, on styles that were introduced in the fall collection and expanded upon for spring 2016. A patent leather slide trimmed with baguette-size crystals in the shape of a buckled does not suggest informality, for example. “You can wear them in an almost conceptual way, if you want,” Frisoni said.
At the same time, there remains that unmistakably strong, sexy femininity in Frisoni’s designs, which got us to talking about the bestsellers from his latest collection. The “Papillon de Nuit” is impossibly high, bedecked with a big ribbon bow, with more electric charge to it than a Mophie (pictured, above left).
“I sent a pair to an incredible friend of mine – she’s a beautiful, mature woman who has everything in life, and I knew they were a little too tall for her, but she loved them,” he said. “It’s not a question of age. It’s a question of style.”