Christian Louboutin

My post this time is inspired by the foremost French footwear designer Christian Louboutin, whose exhibition I visited just a short while ago in the Design Museum (in London).

The exhibition itself was amazing so I recommend everybody to go and visit, while it is on show (until 9th of July 2012). The exhibition room had been transformed into a theatre like exclusive shoe shop, featuring sooo many different pairs of Louboutin’s from different periods of his career, showing different aspects to it. Mirrors everywhere, red color of course, sparkles, glitter, feathers etc.

The shoes are beautiful as ever yet painful to even look at. Louboutin has said that he does not care that  his shoes are uncomfortable; high heels according to him are pleasure with pain.

But now a bit more about the designer. Christian Louboutin (born 1963) is a French footwear designer whose footwear has incorporated shiny, red-lacquered soles that have become his signature. He got the inspiration for that from a bottle of bright red nail enamel in his early designing years while working on a prototype. Trying to figure out what was missing he realized that that the black sole of the shoe was too dark. So he painted it red.

Christian has been a rebellious soul since young age: he was expelled from school three times and ran away from home at the age of 12. In later years he was being a fixture on the city’s party scene, clubbing his nights away alongside Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol.

He claims that inspirations for him come from showgirls and music halls — not fashion (or la mode), which he asserts becomes quickly dated.

His first job was at the Folies Bergères, the caberet where he assisted the entertainers backstage. He would watch the girls going up and down the stairs with these very heavy headdresses on, and they never looked at their shoes. “That’s where I learned that shoes are all about posture and proportion,” he says.

He became the apprentice of Roger Viver, who claims to have invited the stiletto. As a freelance designer he also designed women’s shoes for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Maude Frizon.

Meanwhile Louboutin also worked as a landscape gardener and contributed to Vogue, but missed designing does and finally in 1991 opened his Paris shoe salon. His first customer was Princess Caroline of Monaco, who greatly helped to increase Louboutin’s renown. Other celebrity clients followed: Diane von Furstenburg, Catherine Deneuve, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker (who wore Louboutin’s in her wedding). Now he has boutiques all around the world.

Louboutin helped bring stilettos back into fashion in the 1990s and 2000s, designing dozens of styles with heel heights of 120mm (4.72 inches) and higher. On the opening press conference of the exhibition he said “I have yet to meet a girl who wants shorter legs”. He has also designed ballet slippers with a stiletto heel as a one-off design inspired by classical dance (having joined forces with the English National Ballet). In flesh-colored silk with Swarovski crystals, the shoes have eight-inch heels (topping the brand’s tallest stiletto by a good two inches) that position the feet at near-vertical angles, executable only by professional ballerinas.

He signs his shoes in as authors sign their books. One for a woman who confessed that she was “just a housewife,” Louboutin signed the sole, TO MY FAVORITE HOT HOUSEWIFE. A blushing bride asked him to sign her wedding shoes, and he grabbed a blue pen and wrote, HERE IS SOMETHING BLUE.

Yet another inspiring person from the fashion world 🙂

PS! There is even a thing called “Louboutin manicure”


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