Ever since the 19th century, shoes and slippers have been trimmed with swan down, but because the feathers are so fragile only very few of these have remained intact.
Although feathers are very seductive and elegant, there are only very few originals (intact) left with feathers. Ladies’ shoes, such as sandals and pumps, only have a small piece of surface to attach the feather to. It also requires a lot of handwork and feathers are easily damaged. Some experiments with feathers on shoes were conducted at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, but that was mainly after WW II.
That’s why the group of shoes dedicated to feathers in the exhibition Birds of Paradise is entirely dedicated to Roger Vivier, the most famous shoe designer in haute couture, who started his career at Christian Dior (1953-1963) and went on to start his own label in 1963. Since 2003, Bruno Frisoni is the fashion house’s creative director and he has continued Vivier’s experiments with feathers.