Brand ambassador to Roger Vivier, Ines de la Fressange, sits with Georgie Bradley and sheds light on the ‘Icons Connected’ exhibition at The Galleria Mall and talks through the exquisitely curated pieces of the collections…
On a crisp and colour-changing autumnal day, inside the historically Parisian, Maison de L’Amérique Latine, where the chandeliers drip with diamonds, the 18th century pillars have ornate finishes and the ceilings beam with allure, the SS17 presentation for Roger Vivier is a dazzling affair. The cultural heritage of the space is akin to the brand’s championing of old-time glamour meets contemporary decadence. Each room is awash with cult shoes – notably the thigh-high guipure boot sandals and the sensuously pointed ankle boots alongside some indulgent multi-coloured stone trainers.
The set up is eye-catching (not least through the piercing crystals) and energetic, creating conversation about the travelling woman; a woman who moves from day to night and around the world with a compelling sense of style. All the while Ines de la Fressange, brand ambassador to Roger Vivier, in all her leggy, androgynous charm, threads in and out of the ubiquitous media and fashion elite – if she wasn’t so tall, you’d think she was merely passing through – but she commands the space with a subtle yet prominent flair.
Cutting a feminine and strong dash, she sports drainpipe white trousers, silver kicks and a svelte navy blue suit jacket. Her ear-length hair flicks in playful disarray
and her fine-boned features are endearing. She represents the elegance, sophistication and modernity of today’s woman.
As we sit in our upholstered emerald armchairs, next to the floor-to-ceiling sash windows overlooking an abundant garden where the autumn hues begin to unfurl, Ines puts out a disclaimer: “I apologise in advance if we get interrupted.” Being that it’s press day, this is standard. But as an evident master of multi-tasking, she gives her undivided attention like we go way back.
Since 2003, Ines has been immersed in the world of Roger Vivier. The combination of her imitable style, sharp sense of self and Parisian etiquette, makes her a natural fit as the protagonist of the house. Over the years, she has walked and talked Roger Vivier the world over and has been at the helm of its evolution. Last month saw the travelling exhibition, ‘Icons Connected’ visit the Galleria Mall on Al Maryah Island. Ahead of her trip to Abu Dhabi, she explains the importance of linking the past with the present. “When we first did the exhibition in Paris a few years ago, it was a huge success and I wanted the rest of the world to discover this patrimony.
Figures like Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Onassis, Queen Elizabeth II are icons connected by their feet,” says Ines. The exhibition celebrates the history of the venerated house and charts its expansion from a carriage trade shoe brand to a sophisticated, contemporary Parisian brand. The aim is to evoke “another time” while showing reverence to the past for the way it’s shaped the present. “It’s not possible to turn away from the past in the world of fashion. Our roots are important. When we travel, fashion is a very small world,” she adds.
Social media has a lot to answer for when bringing the past to life, or indeed with having a preoccupation with the past. “People find old photographs of celebrated artists, filmmakers and intellectual creatives and lift them onto the Internet. It’s no longer difficult to find archives, it’s all available.” Roger Vivier’s deep-rooted lineage sparks interest from the outset. The aforementioned clientele lends credence to its status as a leading luxury accessories brand, which definitely has a firm place in the Middle Eastern fashion scene.
The Middle Eastern woman, when it comes to fashion has come a long way. “For a long time they liked statement-making, excessive pieces but this is becoming a false stereotype now. Middle Eastern women move around the world so much nowadays, they are more informed about fashion than Parisians!”
Roger Vivier is never conventional. The pieces are transformative. “I have a simple sense of style, but a Vivier shoe gives my outfit a touch of glamour,” she claims. The beauty and technical ingenuity imbued into every last piece is what makes a Roger Vivier purchase all the more prized – that and the fact that “in life, we need frivolity,” says Ines.
Editor in Chief