Roger Vivier artistic director Bruno Frisoni has decided to nix the label’s couture collection. “When I showed couture in January, I was thinking it was something that wasn’t me anymore,” he said at an event at the Roger Vivier boutique last night, looking a bit sad. “I thought the time had passed.” Because who wears couture these days, anyway? A couturier for 30 years, the French designer could think of only “one or two” women who might wear the label’s couture designs. “But in what occasion, really? For the big couture houses, the purpose isn’t really about dressing people anymore.”
But there’s no need to mourn the death of another couture label: Instead, Frisoni has decided to launch a less expensive limited edition line, titled Rendez-Vous, which features sixteen handmade bags and shoes that will tour his boutiques nationwide (it’s currently on view at Saks). By “limited,” we’re talking batches of ten copies for each piece, including all the different shoe sizes (which has been very complicated, one of the label’s employees told us in a hushed tone). The designs include a shoe embroidered with wood flowers, a wooden clutch with a jeweled ladybug clasp, and a pump with a rose made of feathers sewed to the toe. And while they still cost a ridiculous amount of money (the cheapest piece, a pair of leather sandals, is still $995), the highest priced item is equivalent with the least expensive couture item that Frisoni has ever made ($10,300).
And in case you can’t afford any of the above — which is quite likely — Frisoni is also launching what he calls an “entry-priced” line for spring, called Miss X. “It’s for the summer, or for the grocery store. When you go buy les carottes - how do you call carottes? Carrots. Or the soups,” he said excitedly. Of course, fleshing out the different price ranges has to do with the recession, but also because it’s just more modern, he says:
It’s not just about people having less money. People have changed the way they go for luxury, because they realize at a certain point there’s other things to do with your money than buy things like couture that you may not really need. So I am trying to find a new way to excite them and make them buy in another way. Not a reasonable way, because reasonable is always boring. But finding a new way to attract them.
Will he ever return to something super luxurious? “Maybe I will do a car,” he said. “I would like to do my own car as I desire it. That would be a big project. A playful car.”
Click ahead to see Roger Vivier’s new limited-edition collection.