Roger Vivier | The Rhinestone ball heel
Credit United Press - August 3, 1955
Source: Shoe Icons

Two years into the Dior-Delman manufacturing deal, Roger Vivier showcased this model soon to be well esteemed thanks to a signature ball heel as a top piece.

Roger Vivier | The rhinestone ball heel
Photograph by André Ostier
Source: Aguttes

August 1, 1955 | Roger Vivier | The original showcase
Source: Bridgeman Images

Chaussures à talons : modèles dessinés par Roger Vivier pour Dior - Delman, presentées le 1er Août 1955 
Neg: A10867
Shoes designed by Roger Vivier for Dior - Delman (winter collection), August 1st, 1955
Source: Bridgeman Images

August 1, 1955 | Roger Vivier | The original showcase
Source: Bridgeman Images

The ball heel design was filed for patent two months after the official showcase (October 5, 1955) and attributed to Dior-Delamn, not Vivier so that it remains unknown who actually designed the heel.

Filed: October 5, 1955 - Granted: October 22, 1956
Assigned to Christian Dior - Delman
Source: INPI (Institute National de la Propriété Industrielle - France)

October 2, 1955 | Roger Vivier for Dior
Source: GIOIA magazine


We don't know: many books claim 1953 without quoting the source, and the official Roger Vivier site goes even further:

In 1953 he (Vivier) created a pair of shoes with a Boule heel for the German actress and singer Marlene Dietrich. 
Source: rogervivier.com

..which is not reliable for two reasons:

- 1 - the shoe pictured is the 1987 replica from the Aguttes Auction catalog [1]

- 2 - it was clearly not created for, but later custom made for Marlène Dietrich.

1953 | 1987 | 1985 | Roger Vivier | The rhinestone heel replica
Snapshot from rogervivier.com

Marlene Dietrich shoes on Mabel Normand trunk
Photographed in 1980 by Steven Arnold

Apparently it was really a shoe favored by the German star as the model kept at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles) bear a slightly different insole label (Delman logo and "Especially for MARLENE DIETRICH, while the shoes in the trunk carry the logo and the writing "Custom made especially for MARLENE DIETRICH).

Delman | Especially for Marlene Dietrich
Designed by Roger Vivier
Source: FIDM blog

Also, what it is commonly known as the 1987 replica was actually made two years before [2] to celebrate the opening of the Vivier store in New York (965 Madison Ave.). It was later featured for the Vivier retrospective at the Musèe Des Arts De La Mode Paris (Louvre). It's easy to spot it as the rhinestone ball is placed a little higher than the original.

1987 | 1985 | Roger Vivier | The rhinestone heel replica

It seems that even the replica got noticed as another singer custom ordered the shoe, the late Dorothy McGuire of the McGuire Sisters fame (a pop group active between mid Fifties and late Sixties). The model was auctioned in March 2013 (price unknown) and detailed as such:
Fine vintage Roger Vivier heels custom ordered by Dorothy McGuire (McGuire Sisters). Black patent leather items with gilt metal 'ball' heel tips. Items rarely (once or twice) worn in a dry climate. 
Source: 1stdibs 

Late 1980's | Roger Vivier for Dorothy McGuire
Source: 1stdibs

Raymond Massaro in his workshop | Paris
Source: Shoes. The ultimate accessoy.

At first we thought the previous photograph (no date) was a bit cryptic. The caption read:

Raymond Massaro is the grandson of Sébastien, the founder of the family firm. Raymond modernized the firm but he has never abandoned his commitment to the craft of the cordwainer. He is proud to be photographed surrounded by the wooden lasts and innumerable shoes and boots in the Massaro workshop. 
Tessa Paul
Shoes. The ultimate accessory (Chartwell Books Inc., 2010)

Although unlikely it could have been as if the celebrated artisan would have paid Vivier a tribute. 


2013 | Marlene Dietrich shoe by Massaro
From Bob Wilson's Living Rooms installation at Louvre (Salle de la Chapelle)
Source: Domus




The photograph from the Aguttes Auction catalog came from the book "Vivier" by Pierre Provoyeur (Editions du Regard p.52 - 1991).

We didn't meant to be disrespectful toward rogervivier.com; we said that their data are unreliable simply because they are not the custodians of the Vivier archive; the brand Roger Vivier bought in 2013 a fraction of the actual archive at the well known Aguttes auction (the first one), so they still have a long way to became the authority in all things Vivier.


September 24, 1985
Well - Heeled. Designer Treats Shoe As Work Of Art
Source: Palm Beach Daily News

In another newspaper the replica was called:

"The newest Vivier shoe has a very low back on a very high heel decorated with a pav'e (SIC) rhinestone ball. 
The Tuscaloosa News | August 18, 1985


(Year unknown and irrelevant) | Chanel ankle boots
Source: ebay

Roger Vivier | The Rhinestone ball heel
Credit United Press August 3, 1955
Source: Shoe Icons