“When I arrived at Vivier, I thought it needed more focus. There was the famous [pilgrim] buckle, which I loved, but the other things, in a way, were a bit older. It was not so young, not so sexy. Fashion needs change, so after 16 years, I think the brand was ready for that.”

This is what Gherardo Felloni said to Forbes in December 2018, when he succeeded Bruno Frisoni as creative director of one of the most legendary Maisons, Roger Vivier. The French maestro, who has been called “the Fragonard of shoes” and who died in 1998, must be smiling nonstop since Felloni took the brand’s reins. The Italian magician has revamped Roger Vivier from head to toe – no pun intended -, by blending a clever mix of glamorous, disruptive, porno-chic and aristocratic style.

Felloni will be one of the judges on October 26 for Fashion Trust Arabia’s fourth annual Prize in Doha. He’s done the job once before, in 2021, and everybody remembers his sharp remarks and on point advice to the finalists.

Here is he answering Pulse’s questions, two weeks before the event.

How would you describe Fashion Trust Arabia’s mission? What do you expect from the 2022 Prize, what encounters, emotions, interactions?

I expect to discover new talents, as in the last edition. I am excited to see their first collections and I already know that it will be hard for me to choose only one designer among so many creative personalities.

Helping, mentoring and advising emerging fashion designers: What does this mean to you on a professional and personal level? 

First of all, I am honored to be part of Fashion Trust Arabia. This mission is very important to me because fashion is constantly changing and evolving. We need fashion to stay young and to be nurtured by new talents, that’s why the finalists need to be supported and supervised.

What is the one thing you remember from your early years as a professional, when you were at the beginning of your career, just like the FTA finalists?

During the early years of my career, I tried, as much as possible, to share and exchange new ideas and to find support from senior, talented designers. They were, for me, an opportunity to improve and learn faster, in a more confident way. These are the same needs that I can see in the young designers’ generation.

How would you describe the MENA fashion industry? 

The MENA fashion industry is a very interesting cultural world. If on one hand, young designers are careful about environmental progress and sustainability, on the other hand, they never forget to enhance craftmanship and their local, traditional “savoir faire”.

What would the title of your documentary/biography be?

This is a challenging question. I would say “Hard work makes creativity grow”!