WORDS BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI
The Cuissardes are a house icon, first made famous by Brigitte Bardot in the Sixties.
Brigitte Bardot in 1967 wearing the famous Roger Vivier ‘Cuissardes’ boots that now have been remade in numerous colours for the fashion houses AW20 collection. Images courtesy of the brand.
Monsieur Roger Vivier first created the Cuissarde boots – a bold thigh-high style with a comfortable block heel – in the early Sixties. It made for a daring, novel choice at the time but it was quickly embraced by pioneering women from Baroness Pauline de Rothschild to French dancer Zizi Jeanmaire.
But it was Brigitte Bardot in 1967 who sealed the boots’ place in history, when debuting her “Harley Davidson” song in a leather micro mini dress and a custom pair of black Roger Vivier Cuissardes.
Since then the black and white image of Bardot posing next to a motorcycle with her Cuissardes has helped define the image of a modern sex symbol and the famous boots have gone on to be recreated in myriads of new ways, be it with satin, leather, lace, intricate embroidery.
This week, the house’s current creative director Gherardo Felloni is offering his own take on the famous style and debuting the Belle Vivier Cuissarde boots, a series of exclusive, handmade styles featuring feather and crystal embroideries. This is one of the most elevated, couture reimaginings of the Cuissardes, with each style taking up to 48 hours to create.
There are also some more pared back iterations that come in bright-coloured suede leathers or playful fringed styles.
“Roger Vivier was a genius. He was influenced by 18th century boots and reimagined them with embroidery and color,” said Felloni, who continuously looks to the house’s archives to inspire his current collections.
He wanted to bring the Cuissardes back in such an elaborate form, to show the house’s close ties with haute couture – and to simply gauge people’s reaction at such a fantastical, otherworldly type of shoe.
I wanted to find out what the reaction will be when people saw these boots that are actually impossible to produce in the mass market. Of course, we are doing ready-to-wear, but this kind of boots are typically haute couture. The silhouette is very unexpected because there are not so many cuissarde boots around,” added the designer.
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