Recently, I was invited to an evening at the V&A museum in London with legendary French shoe designer Christian Louboutin, whom I had met earlier this year at La Soirée Monégasque in Monaco, and Net-à-porter founder Natalie Massenet. The event was linked to the launch of his first book and the 20th anniversary of the Louboutin empire.
On Nov 21st, 1991 Christian Louboutin opened his first store at the age of 27. Now 20 years later, he still lives his passion for shoes. Louboutin is a very interesting man and a true latitudinarian.
He was expelled from 3 schools, he ran away from home at the age of 12 and grew up in a household with many women, 4 sisters and his mom who gave him a lot of support and encouraged him to follow his dreams. At an early age, he had already developed an obsession for burlesque clubs and showgirls that has inspired him all his life.
Christian Louboutin with me…
…signing the book with a personal dedication for me.
Meet Christian Louboutin and enjoy this insight into his world and life.
“I don’t know how to be unhappy in life. This is a natural element that I have. For me, it helps me with my work. This is the great thing about designing, it should bring happiness.”
“I don’t believe in destiny. I have loved drawing shoes from an early age but never thought that this would become my job.”
On his childhood
„I learned a lot from my sisters and my mum. Women behave differently when they are by themselves and when there is no man around. I never thought that I had a special childhood but I had. My mum was very supportive and gave me complete freedom. She believed that it is important to be brought up in love. She was beautiful, even though her shoes weren’t. She was definitely not a shoe person!“
“A shoe has so much more to offer than just to walk. Shoes are bringing posture to the whole body. They change the way you are walking, standing, behaving. They give you confidence. A customer once said while trying on a pair of my heels: ‘Look, I’m completely transformed and it’s cheaper than a facelift!’ “
On his first success
“It was a flat shoe, the Love shoe”. Like the love birds that cannot be separated, I designed them. Only if you put the two shoes together, they are complete. I only sold those shoes in the first season and they were a huge success.”
On his favourite heel height
“Ain’t no high heel high enough!” (started singing)
On his favourite shoe
“If there was only one shoe to be made, it would have to be a pump. It is like a beautiful face without make-up. If you have a good pump, the rest is make-up.”
On Princess Caroline of Monaco
“Caroline is the second fairy in my life. Caroline came in my store at a very early stage in December 1991. A journalist who did a story on new shops was by coincidence there and when she spotted Caroline, she wrote a huge article that brought me many buyers and sales went up.”
On Folies Bergère
“I love Burlesque dancers. At the Folies Bergère, I saw all the shows, knew all the girls. So I decided to design for them. At one stage, I was even an intern at the Folies Bergère.”
On the importance of the red sole
“It is my signature, it is clear how important it is. But now I don’t even think about it anymore. It is a funny story how it started. During my designing process for my third collection, I was thinking a lot of Andy Warhol, pop art, bright colours. The first prototype arrived and I was very happy with it, with the heel proportion, a Mary Jane with a big huge flower. Still, I was looking at the drawing and at the shoe, and something was missing. Looking at the sole, it was all black which was not on my drawing because you didn’t see the sole. Sarah, a model, was sitting on the floor and painted her nails in red. I grabbed the polish from her and started to paint the soles. The magic took place. The sole is like a message, the red a signal.”
“You really need to be a criminal or a pervert to shock me! It is sad but you can even be sexy in bad shoes. Sexy is coming from a certain attitude.”
“I am very happy to not be a part of a big luxury company and do not plan to change it, because I enjoy my freedom very much. Freedom means a lot to me.”
On toe cleavage
“It is one of the important aspects of my designs, mainly because it gives the impression of longer legs. While working with the show girls, I learnt a lot. They are very specific with their shoes. Good balance is indispensable and to be able to dance while having the longest legs possible. This inspired me to create more toe cleavage.”
On his favourite thing to do
On his favourite colour
On his favourite quality in a person
“Tolerance and enthusiasm.”
On his nick name
“Laporo, Loubi, Bottinos or Los Bottinos which I hate.”
If I whet your appetite for a little Sunday shopping, you will find a great wish list below (just click here to be transferred). Channel Christian’s joie de vivre and enjoy your new shoes!