Monday, August 16, 2010

Timeless Shoes...Timeless Spaces

Am I the only person who has been bored with shoes over the last few years? There was a time when I had difficulty figuring out which shoes to buy because most of them were pretty, glamorous, feminine, and made one's legs look really good. But lately? Well, not so much so. The shoes seem so, well, aggressive and frankly not very attractive. I tried- really tried- to be open-minded this season and considered buying a pair of Louboutin pumps that had that military look going on. But when I saw them in person, I realized that should I wear them, I just might be mistaken for a pole dancer- from the ankles down, of course. That, or I could possibly end up in traction. Basically, the shoes were fraught with danger.

This is why I find my mid-thirties self buying shoes that are classic. Shoes that look stylish today and that will look equally as chic next year and beyond. I'm still wearing my black suede Manolo 4" pumps that I bought ten years ago...and I still get compliments on them. It's why I bought the Roger Vivier shoes at top in both black and gray suede. I've already worn them a great deal and will continue to do so until they fall apart.

So why am I on a shoe tangent? Well, I started to think about shoes- and classics- after seeing these photos of the Paris apartment of who else? Roger Vivier. The designer and Jacques Damase created a home that was a blend of antiques and modern art and furnishings- a combination which, by the way, is now classic. There was 13th c. sculpture, Louis XVI chairs from the Palace of Rambouillet, 20th c. artwork, and Georgian silver. Quite a mix, and one that could have veered into hodgepodge territory. Fortunately, it did not, but I suppose that's not a surprise. When one buys and collects pieces (and shoes) that are more timeless than of the moment, somehow they always have a way of working with what you already own.

The spacious entrance hall had an 18th c. stone figure on one side, while on the other was "Compressions", a work by the artist César. Those uplights, left visible on the floor, add a sense of drama to the space.

More of that dramatic lighting, this time in the sitting room. The mix here includes a 12th c. Chinese goddess, a Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair, a Coromandel screen, and red leather Louis XV chairs.

A different view of the sitting room. The rustic looking tiled floor is an unexpected choice for a room filled with refined furniture.

The Regency paneling in the dining room was scraped of its paint. Collections of Georgian silver and Creil china filled the corner cabinets

A Louis XIV Boulle table holds a South Sea Island mask and rock crystal candlesticks.

Monsieur Vivier's bedroom was painted gray. One of the more unique pairings in the home has to be the black leather bed on which a white cotton Louis XIV Provençal coverlet was placed.

(Vivier apartment photos from The Best in European Decoration)


  1. Roger Vivier is timeless and chic and so is his interior

  2. Timeless and chic always wins out. And same for shoes, I think. Now you will think me silly, but I was remembering some suede loafers the other day, oh how I loved them.

  3. I so agree with you on the shoes of today! It gets weirder with each passing runway trend. I thought the old "chuga boots" that I cried for when I was 13 were

  4. I COULD NOT HAVE SAID IT BETTER! Classic, wear them forever!
    Teresa (Splendid Sass)

  5. Amazing spaces. But a little stark for my taste. Every elements appears as sculpture to complete the whole. Beautiful.

  6. I am with you in wondering why so many shoes are so ugly today. Platforms are such an abomination and so many styles are clunky and graceless. Why do women want their feet to look so large and ungainly? My late grandmother, who was a grande dame of the old school, was a shoe afficianado who could never pass up the perfect pair of black pumps -- she probably had a hundred pairs when she died. She always said that shoes should be graceful and complement a woman's total look, not bring all the attention to her lower extremities. I wish more people would follow her advice.

    Do you know what year Roger Vivier's apartment was installed? It's quite amazing.

  7. The shoes are fantastic and certainly a classic. 55 years ago I had a french teacher (from France) who taught at our convent where the teachers were mostly nuns. She had two pairs of shoes, grey and black almost exactly like the ones shown. How we loved those shoes!


  8. the gray- I can just hearing clicking down the Vivier corridor. I have to say 50 will bring more revelations- and not just with the soul. pgt

  9. Anonymous3:28 PM

    That place was divine. I think there was a feature on this appartment in Connaisance des Arts some years ago as well.

  10. Jennifer, practically all your enthusiasms chime with my own and none more so than Roger Vivier. I loved what you said about this season's shoes. Horrible, horrible.
    (I also enjoyed what TOPAZ said.)

    Vivier's Paris apartment is fascinating and surprising, yes, in parts. Mostly beautiful. Not sure about the scraped regency panelling..

  11. Anonymous9:15 PM

    Regarding the dangerousness of women's shoes today, while visiting NY last week, on two separate occasions we witnessed fashion victims falling to the sidewalk due to the ridiculous proportions of their heels one was seriously hurt but one does wonder if it's worth the risk.

  12. Anonymous9:27 PM

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! My first thought when I saw the shoes you featured was: "wow those are nice, so feminine, why can't I find shoes like that." I agree that most of the shoes currently out there are ugly, too high and yes, very aggressive looking. I'm not a gladiator or a person able to wear 4 inch heels. Hope the trend ends soon. In the mean time I'm saving money.