“Now I can die,” breathed Roger Vivier’s creative director, Gherardo Felloni. We’re drinking Aperol Spritz at Hotel Costes, and he’s reliving the previous weekend’s exploits: shooting a Christmas movie with his icon, Catherine Deneuve.
It’s a genius holiday short to celebrate the launch of the Très Vivier, Felloni’s update on the house’s original Belle Vivier shoe. The pumps were named because Deneuve wore a bespoke pair in her classic 1968 movie “Belle du Jour.”
Inspired by Rossini’s famous “Duet for Two Cats,” the Michael Haussman-directed short was penned by Felloni’s boyfriend, screenwriter Andrea Danese. It centers around an aristocratic Parisian family Christmas. Think “The Crown” in French but with better shoes. A musical performance by glamorous twins, presided over by Deneuve, descends into an actual catfight over a pair of aforementioned Très Vivier pumps.
Deneuve, he said, is a proper star and a true professional: “When she comes into the room, you really feel as if something special has happened. The moment she sat on the chair in front of the camera, she became the exact character that everyone had in mind, just with her movements and her expression.”
As for Felloni’s “I can die” moment, that happened before the cameras had even started rolling. The duo snuck off to the grande dame’s dressing room to smoke. “She said, ‘Let’s smoke a cigarette,'” he told me, inhaling on a Marlboro (the bar at Costes has a retractable roof). “But I didn’t have any, so she said, ‘I’ll give you one.’ And we went to her dressing room and I thought, ‘Now I can die because I’ve smoked a cigarette with Catherine Deneuve.'”
The firm was a Vivier family affair throughout; much of the cast and crew were assembled from friends of Felloni and the brand. The score was recorded by two young singers from Paris music school La Conservatoire, where Felloni studied opera (yes, he’s also an opera singer in his spare time), the twins were played by emerging French actress Nadia Tereszkiewicz, and the film also features dancers from Parisian cabaret club Manko. Many were also extras at Felloni’s debut presentation, a fully immersive experience involving a fully functioning hotel.
There is even a cameo from 83-year-old costume collector Cecilia Matteucci Lavarini. “She also has an amazing collection of jewelry,” he said. “She’s working with Bulgari on an exhibition in Rome.”
The film’s final cameo comes courtesy of Felloni himself. The pianist? That’s him, of course. The only pity is that he doesn’t break into song himself. Next time.
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