Inside Italian Shoe Designer Fabrizio Viti's Parisian Home On Rue De Babylone

BY Ayesha Sohail Shehmir Shaikh / Jun 19 2019 / 14:38 PM

The charming apartment of Italian shoe designer, Fabrizio Viti, on Paris’ Rue de Babylone echoes Italian splendour with a nod to American influences

Inside Italian Shoe Designer Fabrizio Viti's Parisian Home On Rue De Babylone
Photography by Clément Vidon
Fabrizio Viti’s apartment in Paris

Nestled amidst the serene, quiet streets of Paris’ Rue de Babylone at number 53 is Fabrizio Viti, Louis Vuitton’s head shoe style director’s exuberant apartment. Having lived in the neighbourhood for 11 years, Viti admires the surroundings and the proximity to his favourite restaurant Le Soleil de Naples, florist shop Babylone Flowers and the local pharmacy. 

“I know all the people there. There used to be a little cinema theatre called La Pagode, now it’s closed,” says Viti, reminiscing. “It’s like being in a street of a little village, but it’s so glamourous in the centre of Paris.” Viti was born in Carrara, a small town in Tuscany known for its treasured blue-grey marble quarries atop the Apuan Alps mountain range. “I did art school and sculpture there because there’s not so much else to do in Carrara, it’s a very small place,” he laughs. “But it’s a lovely place and it’s full of art and it’s very inspiring - I love the shapes and colours of the buildings.”

Fabrizio Viti stands in his Paris home  among photographs by  Francesco Scavullo, Bert Stern and David Bailey. Photography by Clément Vidon

 Viti studied at the Marangoni Fashion Institute Milano, a private fashion and design school in Milan, Italy, and later became leading shoe designer of fashion houses Gucci and Prada. In 2004 the flourishing designer went to work for Louis Vuitton. Then, in early 2017, he launched his eponymous elegant fall/winter shoe collection. Viti’s shoe became synonymous with the feminine, powerful and busy women of the world. Today, Viti combines his time between both Louis Vuitton and expanding his own shoe line.

Barbie has been one of Viti’s greatest inspirations since he was just three years old. “She arrived in Italy in the late sixties when I was a kid,” he says. “Let’s say that she was my door to fashion. I think there was a lot more freedom back then because nobody really cared that I was a boy playing with dolls.” Viti believes in being authentic despite what societal norms may suggest, and he did just that when decorating his expressive abode in Rue de Babylone. With high, patterned white ceilings, soft lighting and wooden floors, the fashionable apartment embodies a classical vibe mixed with modernistic designs.

A bedroom in Fabrizio Viti’s apartment. Photography by Clément Vidon

The inside is adorned with fashion dolls, pink-white flowers and photographs of sixties and seventies icons including, for example, a Donna Summer portrait by American fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo and a photograph of French film actress Catherine Deneuve shot by English photographer and her former partner, David Bailey.

The designer very much appreciates the imprint a picture can have. “I love pictures and the emotions that I have looking at them because for me, it really captures the moment – you can’t go back there,” says Viti. “A painter can change the artwork many times, and a video can be re-edited. But a picture? An expression will never be the same.”

Vintage Barbie from Fabrizio Viti’s personal collection. Photography by Clément Vidon

Printed pillows with the faces of fictional characters Kelly Garrett and Jill Munroe from seventies American drama series Charlie’s Angels are displayed alongside a wall of stunning portraits taken by renowned photographers Bert Stern, Eve Arnold, Willy Rizzo, Bob Willoughby and Douglas Kirkland. “I know what I like and I’m not ashamed to show what I like,” shares Viti.

“I don’t keep my place following other people’s rooms. There’s classic furniture, a lot of pictures, cheap objects, super expensive objects – the vibe is like being in a sort of time capsule. You get in and you don’t know where you are.” On the coffee tables and shelves around the apartment are spreads of books including a memoir of Italian architect and interior designer, Gio Ponte and Viti’s personal favourite novel by American writer Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the wind.

A view of Fabrizio’s living room featuring furniture and decor by Italian designers Fornasetti, Walter Albini and Giò Ponte. Photography by Clément Vidon

Vintage-style furniture and décor are the work of Italian designers such as Fornasetti and Walter Albini, with many of the pieces by Milanese master architect-designer, Gio Ponti. “I love Gio Ponti very, very much, he is very charming to me,” says Viti, in awe. “He was designing churches and buildings, but he was also designing forks and pieces for your toilets.”

Swedish carpets with traditional designs and patterns from the forties add to the joyous ambience of the eclectic home.  “It was very natural for me to create a contrast within the flat itself – the purpose it is built for and my furniture, which comes from the sixties and seventies Italia. There is a contrast between the apartment itself and the way I decorated it,” says Viti. “I was not trying to do something different, it happened simply because I love those things.”

Daisy Shoe from Fabrizio Viti’s first collection. Photography by Clément Vidon

Embracing sixties television shows such as American sitcom, Bewitch, Viti often imagines himself to be the star of a TV set. “Sometimes I like to think that the apartment is like a set in a situation comedy where I live there and people are coming and going, it really makes me feel happy,” he says. “On the other hand, my place is very serene on a very, very quiet street so there is a harmonious ambience. I also have a housekeeper who sings all the time, she’s very happy and I think she brings good energy as well,” he adds, laughing.

A Paris home with Italian interiors, American vibes and a mixture of sixties and seventies designs with modern glam, Fabrizio Viti’s apartment resembles a dreamy retreat in the heart of the picturesque French capital. Viti smiles, “People may like it or not, but my work really comes from my heart so it’s really important. I just want to continue to do whatever I love.”

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