In 1954, Roger Vivier invented the stiletto heel with its bold arch to complement the elegant models of Christian Dior. It was Vivier, too, who introduced the first black vinyl thigh-high boots that so flattered the leg, and later the practical square-toed pumps that endowed the urban amazon with her intrepid stride.Combining traditional techniques with bold touches of inspiration, this shoemaker extraordinaire made use of an unforeseen range of materials from fairy-tale embroidery and transparent plastic to metallic kid-skin and metal mesh, bending the conventional inventory of styles to his creative caprices without ever losing sight of his classical resources. Vivier's designs soon brought him into the international spotlight. For one of Rudolf Nureyev's first performances in the free world he created crocodile thigh-high boots, for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, gold kid sandals, and for Catherine Deneuve as the infamous belle du jour, the wildly popular square-toed flats with silver buckles. Nicknamed "the king of the heel," this architect of fanciful footwear was always a step ahead of his day.