God forgive me, I interviewed Christian Louboutin while wearing a pair of trainers. Not fancy sci-fi ones either, but properly old and grimy ones. Louboutin is among the most popular shoe designers in the world and officially one of the most prestigious, as outlined by independent ratings company Luxury Institute, that has named Christian Louboutin since the most desirable shoe brand on earth in the past 36 months. He is also the man that is credited, or blamed, for bringing the stiletto back in fashion. So wearing trainers to fulfill him is a touch like suggesting to Jamie Oliver which we meet at McDonald’s for lunch.
But – whaddyaknow – christian louboutins sydney turns around his tiny and stiletto-filled office wearing trainers himself. (Although where mine say Converse, his say, within a discreet logo about the side, Christian Louboutin, which, presumably, would be useful should he forget his name.)
“I glance at the face first. So when I check out the face, I try to view the personality and, from that, guess which kind of shoes this girl might have.”
Perhaps he was just tired. He had flown in that morning from Dubai where he is going to open his 20th boutique – with another 13 planned this current year – and did not sleep in the plane “by any means”. And as soon as he warms up so we turn the conversation far from strict business chat, he is really good fun, making dry remarks then smiling quietly afterwards. At some point I ask if, having shod virtually every celebrity in the world, from Madonna to France’s first lady Carla Bruni, there may be anyone left he’d like being a customer. His eyes skirt around the office, settling eventually on a pair of particularly high black stilettos, studded all around with silver spikes. He turns back and replies, po-faced, “The Queen of England.”
For a long period, perfume sales powered the style world. This became jeans. Now, more than ever, it’s shoes and bags, and is particularly no coincidence that Louboutin arrived from the 90s if this switch began. He, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo’s Tamara Mellon are the Holy Trinity of the luxury footwear market, having helped turn shoes from something you add on the feet to protect yourself from splinters into fetish objects for women. Louboutin is currently towards the top of that triangle.
Where Manolo Blahnik footwear is either plain or quirky, and Jimmy Choos hold the distinct sheen of Eurotrash to them, Christian Louboutin shoes say one particular word: se-x. Everything on them – from the disco styles, for the aggressive thrust of your shoe’s curvature, towards the almost por-nographic red sole, flashing observers from behind since the lady walks away – shouts se-x.
Seemingly every celebrity within the paparazzi sun, from Lady Gaga to Victoria Beckham, has proclaimed their passion for the person. But Louboutin himself proves to possess remarkably little fascination with the international celebrity scene. Was he starstruck when, say, Madonna was photographed wearing his shoes? No, he wasn’t. But he was really a little excited as he discovered the first Mrs Johnny Hallyday was really a fan – “Hallyday is a huge singer in France, you understand.”
Louboutin also recently received the very best honour a shoe designer can receive nowadays: his shoes should be featured from the new S-ex And The City film. This is not just a serious plug, but a potentially controversial one, as Manolo Blahnik shoes were this type of mainstay of the TV series that this term “Manolos” entered the lexicon. But is louboutins melbourne excited?
He even refused to go on the Oprah Winfrey Show when she did an entire episode regarding how much she loves his shoes, which is as near that you can reach being knighted in the usa. “They filmed the very first part of the show in Paris and got me to stand outside from the cold – so needless to say I bought sick,” he says, still outraged with the cheek of it. “So when they said, ‘Come to Chicago’ [where Winfrey films her show], I said, ‘Are you crazy? I’m sick, my God!'”
Instead, Louboutin prefers his hobbies: landscaping (there are actually often plant information on his shoes), trapeze (he has a swing in the studio) and, occasionally, dancing. He recently created a film of himself tap dancing for Simon Fuller’s fashion website, Fashionair, that is a vision of unselfconscious joy (and, yes, he made these shoes).
He has been specifically redesigning his Paris apartment for 5yrs. “It’s not too I’m a perfectionist,” he says, before launching right into a seven-minute anecdote about how he’s made the builders redo the windows three times to obtain the angles right.
Above all, he works: supervising the factories, having meetings around the globe and then, twice yearly, he will isolate himself in just one of his four country houses (Egypt, Syria, France, Portugal) when he designs the latest collections.
When we meet it’s the first day of Paris fashion week, a prospect that does not suffuse his face with joy. “I never was considering being part of the style world – I just wanted to design shoes. I didn’t realize Vogue existed as i was being raised. Vogue, what is that?” he protests.
A few years ago, Louboutin was offered the work of designer at the major fashion label, though he won’t say what type. “And I Also really was almost offended,” he says, still sounding it. “After all, the shoe – you will find a music on it, there is attitude, there is certainly sound, it’s a movement. Clothes – it’s some other story. You will find a million things I’d rather do before designing clothes: directing, landscaping. Designing clothes?” His face indicates his opinion of that.
Louboutin came to be in 1963 and raised in Paris. His father was actually a carpenter along with his mother was “definitely not” a very high heel fan. His four sisters liked “cork wedges”, he remembers, without fondness. “Basically the alternative of the things I do now.”
Yet his taste was established within his childhood. When Louboutin was 13, he and his awesome friends would sneak out of school to visit Le Palace, a Paris nightclub, but while his mates looked at the girls on stage, he just checked out their shoes. “A few of the shoes I make today continue to be inspired by the Palace – the disco look, the metal, the glitter.”
He never visited fashion or design school and instead got his training working for, amongst others, Charles Jourdan, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. However, he had an unfortunate tendency to get fired: “It’s because I used to be an awful assistant. An assistant should really assist – I always wanted to do my very own thing.”
He or she is adamant he never had any career plan or ambition to have his very own company, that i don’t wholly buy. It is rather hard to achieve success without wanting it very badly, particularly in the fashion business, and Louboutin, for all his Gallic nonchalance, does play the game. He once chosen to miss a flight returning to Paris from America so he could spend two more hours in a department shop autographing his shoes. “To my favourite hot housewife,” Time magazine 06dexipky he scrawled in one customer’s shoe.
Today, Louboutin shoes are noted for a couple of things: price and height. Some Louboutin high heel shoes can simply cost $700 (£465); boots can go around $2,000 (£1,325) plus more. Nor are his the only real ones: all designer shoes appear to have increased in price by a minimum of 50% during the last decade, which Louboutin blames about the euro – “Everything got higher priced, even bread” – rather than designers simply jacking up the prices once they realised people were happy to pay them.
As well as being inside the vanguard of higher prices, louboutin shoes melbourne can also be the main thing on higher heels, bringing stilettos directly into fashion, together with the contradictions that include them. Jennifer Lopez once told Harper’s Bazaar magazine that Louboutin’s shoes “kill you. But they’re the se-xiest shoes around.” How can immobility be se-xy?
At this stage Louboutin starts referring to “the construction of the shoe” and “the direction of your weight” and the typical noises people make when attemping to assert a high-heeled shoe might be comfortable. But the truth is, irrespective of what the construction, the woman is hoicked up on her toes. The argument about regardless of whether high heel shoes empower women is fruitless and, in fact now, a little bit tired. But even Louboutin seems stumped from the contradiction. As I find out if comfort is a crucial element in designing his shoes, he ums and ahs a tad: “It is necessary since a woman doesn’t look good if she’s not comfortable. Having Said That I wouldn’t take it being a compliment if someone considered among my shoes and said, ‘Oh, that looks just like a comfortable shoe’,” he says with distinct scorn. When asked if you find this as a too-high heel, he replies, “You will discover a heel that is certainly excessive just to walk in, certainly. But who cares? You don’t ought to walk in high heel shoes.”