Gherardo Felloni's first step when he took over Roger Vivier's headquarters in Paris was to redo the entire office. “I wanted to be surrounded by everything I like: whether they are ugly, beautiful, cheap or luxurious. For me, it is essential to be surrounded by objects that represent me”, says the French luxury shoe house’s creative director, who, among his passions, include opera and period films.
This self proclaimed love for cinema can be seen in the campaigns designed for Roger Vivier: The recent F/W 2018 campaign starred legendary film actress Catherine Deneuve to celebrate the launch of the Très Vivier, Felloni’s update on the house’s original Belle Vivier shoe. The pumps were named as such because Deneuve wore a bespoke pair in her classic 1968 movie Belle du Jour.
The house’s most recent campaign also features Susan Sarandon in the role of an acting teacher, in a remake inspired by the film I Knew Her Well (1965), by Antonio Pietrangeli.
Felloni’s home situated in the heart of Paris is a real treat to visit, consisting of various memorabilia acquired from vintage markets, works of art and restored furniture, each containing its own rich history - for instance, a table that used to belonge to a teacher.
“I'm an occasional buyer, with the exception of jewelry, which I always buy in Milan from Pennisi. I love wearing precious antique necklaces combined with jeans and sneakers. I also frequent the flea market in Paris and, for a few years now, I participate in auctions, mainly in Italy. ”
He confesses a special attachment to some furniture, such as the green Formica console, with a round mirror, recovered from the Hotel Parco dei Principi and designed by Giò Ponti. “And this kitchen table from the 1940s used to belong to a school teacher who had six students. To teach lessons, he created a hole in the center, and six little drawers for the children. ”
A combination of old and modern, with works of art, souvenirs and shoes, throughout the house, is displayed like trophies. Sandals, mary jane, pumps between design and fashion books and period photographs, such as the portrait of Monica Vitti, on the fireplace in the living room, amid a pair of vintage green Christian Dior shoes - “A prototype never produced by John Galliano. I made the rest of it with my own hands ”, says the designer. “I also have black pumps from Roger Vivier to Christian Dior. It was Vivier's first shoe, from the 1960s, that I acquired at an auction. ”
There are also boots with applied daisies by designer Fabrizio Viti, the first person he'd ever worked with. “He gave me these boots, from his debut collection”, he says. On the wall display, pair of Miu Miu shoes, a reminder of the time when he was under Miuccia Prada, where in 2014, he oversaw leather goods and jewelry, “Every person who sees them makes this association with a Muppet”, he says laughing.
“In my house, everything is based on the juxtaposition of opposites: I have a marble bust that represents Apollo, from the 19th century Roman school, which could express my adult self, but rests on a baby pink cement base by Duccio Maria Gambi, which makes him 'childish' in his own way ”, he says.
In the living room is a prominent display of Two Naked Women, a painting by Nicolas Party, one of his favorite artists. “I get inspired by so many things and, if I had to choose only one person, I would choose Nina Yashar (the Iranian founder of Galeria Nilufar, Milan). Watching her, I learned a lot about how to best display objects. And it is impossible to find disposable, soulless objects. I don't like to throw things away. I buy durable objects, including rugs.”
Who runs the show in the house, though, appears to be Felloni's cat, Mina. “She is as much an owner as I am and has access to everything. But I believe that her favorite space remains my bed. ”
Felloni doesn't like working from home: “I have a studio that I almost never use. But it still looks like a bomb exploded inside. ”
From the window, you can see his beloved garden. "This is where I relax." But his dining room, however, where he has a large table, is where he spends most of his time, even alone, watching movies.
“As an Italian living in France, I feel the need to cook at home. I do simple things because I don't have much time. French cuisine is elaborate, perhaps a little too much for the habits of us Italians. Victor Hugo wrote: 'From the shell one can understand the mollusk, and from the house, the tenant'. My house? I define it as being eclectic, in my own way, because it represents me in almost everything. I took care of it and find myself in everything inside it. ”