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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Roger Vivier and Charlotte Olympia — Fun With Accessories

Vivier reworks Flower Power while Charlotte Olympia goes jungle hopping

10 Октября 2015

Illustration for a Charlotte Olympia/Havaianas collaboration for S/S 2016
Illustration for a Charlotte Olympia/Havaianas collaboration for S/S 2016

After a decade of taking accessories Oh! so seriously, imaginative designers are lightening up. Having the “right” bag or shoes can now be interpreted not by the look of the moment, but by searching for something that feels personal — or at least corresponds to a certain spirit.

Vivier’s zip-up platform sneakers with graffiti print for S/S 2016
Vivier’s zip-up platform sneakers with graffiti print for S/S 2016

The whimsical pieces that are flying out of the Gucci stores are emblematic of a changing attitude. It is no longer a case of, “Wow! You got the ‘X’ bag”, but rather, “Where did you get that?”

I would not go so far as to say that the long reign of the “It Bag” is over. It started during Tom Ford’s reign at Gucci in the 1990s (although Chanel and Hermès might claim that it dates much further back). The new millennium pushed clothes into the background as accessories continued their meteoric rise.

Roger Vivier’s S/S 2016 collection features Sixties-style daisies
Roger Vivier’s S/S 2016 collection features Sixties-style daisies

Significantly, the designer bags of the moment are as smooth and well-rendered as fine furniture, and the customers for the latest from Céline or Saint Laurent are more like members of a private club than a group of show-offs.

"Mary Quant"-inspired daisies for Roger Vivier S/S 2016

Equally, the acceptance of designer sneakers, led by Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel Haute Couture, offers another kind of individuality. Why not paint the canvas yourself — adding a flourish of Swarovski crystals?

Swarovski crystals deck shoes and bags at Roger Vivier for S/S 2016
Swarovski crystals deck shoes and bags at Roger Vivier for S/S 2016

A really smart designer can juggle two the two opposing fashion elements: graphics used for elegant simplicity, and the more playful side.

The joyful interior of Roger Vivier’s showroom in Paris
The joyful interior of Roger Vivier’s showroom in Paris

Roger Vivier: Refreshing a Legacy

Roger Vivier’s shoes are part of fashion history, and designer Bruno Frisoni will surely never abandon his quest to follow the house’s classic style through re-inventing the “Viv” silhouette and the rounded buckle that fits ballerina flats. But there will be surprises in store.

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Delicate silvered and embellished strappy sandals with matching bag from Roger Vivier for S/S 2016

Delicate silvered and embellished strappy sandals with matching bag from Roger Vivier for S/S 2016

Space Age-inspired silvered shoes from Roger Vivier S/S 2016

Space Age-inspired silvered shoes from Roger Vivier S/S 2016

Take-anywhere bags from Roger Vivier for S/S 2016

Take-anywhere bags from Roger Vivier for S/S 2016

The flower-child feel continues with these denim Vivier platforms for S/S 2016

The flower-child feel continues with these denim Vivier platforms for S/S 2016


With the 1960s and 70s resuscitated, the designer played with Mary Quant-style flat daisies and other colourful designs from the Flower Power era. Used to decorate platform sandals and clutch bags, the accessories were modernised with 3D digital printing. But the effect was just as cool when other platform sandals showed up in denim.

Matching daisy-print bags and shoes by Roger Vivier for S/S 2016
Matching daisy-print bags and shoes by Roger Vivier for S/S 2016

Charlotte Olympia: “I Married Adventure”

Having taken her collections to far-flung places, Charlotte Dellal admitted that she is a travel junkie, just like early-20th century American explorer and filmmaker Osa Johnson, who called her memoir, I Married Adventure.

The Charlotte Olympia showroom in Milan
The Charlotte Olympia showroom in Milan

A “wild cat” print on a high-heeled shoe (definitely not for walking the jungle) and a leopard stretching its body across a flat “Tarzan” sandal were just two of the designer’s witty ideas. A leopard-spotted ballet pump even had a pair of scarlet lips at the toe.

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An elephant-shaped bag from Charlotte Olympia’s S/S 2016 collection

An elephant-shaped bag from Charlotte Olympia’s S/S 2016 collection

Charlotte Olympia was inspired by early-20th century travellers for her S/S 2016 collection

Charlotte Olympia was inspired by early-20th century travellers for her S/S 2016 collection

Walk like a big cat in these Charlotte Olympia strappy sandals for S/S 2016

Walk like a big cat in these Charlotte Olympia strappy sandals for S/S 2016

Charlotte Olympia riffs on leopard-skin rugs for her S/S 2016 collection

Charlotte Olympia riffs on leopard-skin rugs for her S/S 2016 collection


Is it Charlotte’s fiery Brazilian blood melded with an upbringing in Britain, where wit and irony are part of the design spirit, that makes the accessories seem so original? Rather than simply producing a jungle story, which is a fashion staple, the designer immersed herself in original decoration — especially for bags. They came plain, but with leopard clips; or printed with a historic colonial map; or even as a “passport cover” printed with Bon voyage.

Illustration for a Charlotte Olympia/Havaianas collaboration for S/S 2016
Illustration for a Charlotte Olympia/Havaianas collaboration for S/S 2016

Just when the repertoire of wit could have exhausted itself, out came Charlotte Olympia Havaianas, the inside sole of the classic single-toe sandal revealing a leopard for each foot.


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