IT'S 9PM on a Sunday in a Wan Chai restaurant and we are talking about Hong Kong's favourite superstitions. The number 8 comes up, which, in Cantonese, sounds like the word for prosperity. Suddenly Bruno Frisoni, the creative director at Roger Vivier, has an idea. He reaches into his jacket pocket for a pencil and some paper. Iconic former Chanel model Ines de la Fressange looks on and laughs. 'He's going to make us something lucky,' she says. Seconds later Frisoni has a sketch for a new shoe, one that remakes Roger Vivier's classic rectangular buckle into a figure of 8, laid on its side so that it looks like the symbol for infinity. 'Viola!' he says. 'This will make millions in China.' He's probably not far off the mark. The shoes that Frisoni designs for the house of Vivier have become increasingly popular in Asia, despite their whopping price tag and often flamboyant designs. 'A shoe should make a statement but it must be an intelligent one,' says Frisoni. 'If I do something unusual it's going to be more like Salvador Dali than Roy Lichtenstein.' The reference to two of the most prominent artists of the 20th century is no surprise. Frisoni roots his work in the rich traditions of modern art but his most recent project has entwined French and British history to create his 'God Save the Queen' shoe. In 1953 Queen Elizabeth wore shoes designed by the late, great Roger Vivier (who invented the stiletto heel) for her coronation. Vivier, who designed shoes for Christian Dior from 1953 until 1963, made a pump with a low heel that was decorated with garnets and rubies. Frisoni's 'homage' to the shoe is a platform (also available as a pump) made with black patent leather. It has a 12cm heel and a square buckle adorned with the words 'God Save the Queen' and the initials R.V. embroidered with gilt thread. 'I was nervous when I became Roger Vivier's creative director. In many ways he invented the modern woman's shoe. But it allowed me to draw on an archive and a heritage that is unbelievably rich.' Apart from the royal shoe Frisoni has also pulled another classic from the archive for a refit. In 1967 Vivier designed a square-buckled pump, called a pilgrim shoe, for the actress Catherine Deneuve to wear in Belle de Jour, directed by Luis Bunuel. 'Catherine requested that we update the Belle de Jour shoe,' says Frisoni. 'I've given it a higher squared heel that is 6.5cm. And, of course, there is the square buckle, only a little bigger.' This shoe, named the Miss D, is a best-seller. But Frisoni has also busted out of Vivier's classic patterns to design pieces that are far more dramatic involving feather-trimmed stilettos, playing cards, giant gilt hearts and gilt heels. These are his signature pieces, consistent with his belief that shoes are a woman's most important weapon in the battle to be stylish. 'The extremities, the feet and the hands, are vital because they are often the first things you see,' Frisoni declares. 'To me, shoes are very important. You can wear a good pair of shoes every day. It's not like a bag, you don't have to have a bag. But shoes are a must.' Frisoni recommends women have a few amazing shoes rather than many inexpensive pairs. And, as with Deneuve in Belle du Jour, the emphasis should be on seduction. 'Shoes should be about desire,' says Frisoni. 'It's about seduction, if you have a pulse and feel alive. If you give up on seduction - seducing or being seduced - then it's over. So look at a shoe and ask how it will make your seductions more successful. That's the best advice I can give.'