The Designer Who Wears Antique Jewels With His Sneakers

Gherardo Felloni. Photo: Courtesy of Roger Vivier

Roger Vivier’s decadent shoes have been worn by everyone from the Beatles to Queen Elizabeth II, but up until recently, the line had never done a sneaker. That all changed with the arrival of Gherardo Felloni, the brand’s new creative director, whose own personal uniform includes both Nikes and antique statement necklaces.

Felloni, who recently released his first collection for the French shoe label, describes his style as “eclectic and ironic,” and his inspirations are equally far-flung. Of course, he pulls from the Vivier archive and longstanding friends of the house like Catherine Deneuve, but his other influences include “music, painting, sculpture, flowers, everything you know?”

Despite designing some of the most opulent shoes on the market, Felloni describes running shoes as “the shoes of our time.” So, he designed the first iteration for Roger Vivier, complete with the signature jeweled buckle on the top. While he admits you probably wouldn’t want to run a marathon in them, it’s one of the many ways he’s leaving his mark and modernizing the house. We spoke with him about opera (love), bracelets (hate), and Art Nouveau (former hate, current love).

How do you thank someone for a gift?
When I get a gift, I like to say thanks in person. I also like to send a little drawing or a message. I am better in drawing than in writing.

What is your dream vacation?
I can’t stay still for more than three days. I have to be with someone that I love, to share something and do something — sing, write, draw, or garden. I need something to do. I go back to Italy when I have holidays. I’m from near Florence. One of my dreams is to have a holiday house and go whenever I like.

What’s a good book on your coffee table?

I don’t like to read books, I like to read music. I love the opera. I love French music from the ’50s, Italian music from the ’60s, but usually I really listen to Opera. I prefer to sing it than listen. Right now I’m listening to Puccini.

What’s your favorite piece of furniture in your apartment/studio?
I really love everything that I have. I only buy things because I love them, piece by piece. And then I put it together. I’m quite impulsive when I buy things. I have a table with a mirror in my room and it’s probably my favorite.

What is something you would never wear?
Oh, I don’t know. Probably a lot of things. I’m always dressed with a shirt, a cardigan, and sneakers. There’s a lot of things that I never wear. Maybe bracelets in general. I have short hands and I don’t like them on myself.

What shoes do you wear most often?
Running shoes or moccasins. Usually running shoes. I like these Nike shoes, but I like to change them often. I usually wear antique jewels so I like balancing them with running shoes.

What is a trend you like right now?
Something about this moment makes me feel like I really like Art Nouveau.

One you don’t understand?
I’m not a fan of the rock-and-roll, skinny look. I don’t understand. It’s something that’s always around. It’s more than a trend.

What decade from the past would you want to live in?

What’s your favorite…


Shoe glue, the old one. The one from the ’80s is one of my favorite smells.

Restaurant in New York?
One of my favorites was the Four Seasons restaurant. But they changed everything. I just went to this really good vegetarian restaurant, Nix.

Rimowa — they’re really light. I always have my Prada backpack with me too.

I always wear a black Uniqlo sweater.

Place to buy necklaces?
An antique jewelry store in Milan called Pennisi. It’s the best place to buy jewels.

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The Designer Who Wears Antique Jewels With His Sneakers