God forgive me, I interviewed Christian Louboutin while wearing a couple of trainers. Not fancy sci-fi ones either, but properly old and grimy ones. Louboutin is probably the most famous shoe designers worldwide and officially probably the most prestigious, according to independent ratings company Luxury Institute, that has named Christian Louboutin as the most desirable shoe brand worldwide within the last 36 months. He or she is even the man who is credited, or blamed, for bringing the stiletto back into fashion. So wearing trainers to satisfy him is a little like suggesting to Jamie Oliver that people meet at McDonald’s for lunch.
But then – whaddyaknow – christian louboutin australia turns approximately his tiny and stiletto-filled office wearing trainers himself. (Although where mine say Converse, his say, inside a discreet logo around the side, Christian Louboutin, which, presumably, would come in handy should he forget his name.)
“I check out the face first. And once I check out the face, I try to begin to see the personality and, from that, guess what kind of shoes this girl could have.”
Perhaps he was only tired. He had flown for the reason that morning from Dubai where he is about to open his 20th boutique – with another 13 planned this year – and failed to sleep about the plane “at all”. As soon as he warms up therefore we turn the conversation away from strict business chat, he or she is excellent fun, making dry remarks after which smiling quietly afterwards. At one point I find out if, having shod just about every celebrity on earth, from Madonna to France’s first lady Carla Bruni, there is certainly anyone left he’d like as being a customer. His eyes skirt throughout the office, settling at last 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. That became jeans. Now, more than ever, it’s shoes and bags, and it is no coincidence that Louboutin arrived inside the 90s once this switch began. He, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo’s Tamara Mellon are definitely the Holy Trinity from the luxury footwear market, having helped turn shoes from something you place in your feet in order to avoid splinters into fetish objects for girls. Louboutin has become near the top of that triangle.
Where Manolo Blahnik footwear is either plain or quirky, and Jimmy Choos hold the distinct sheen of Eurotrash in their mind, Christian Louboutin shoes say one easy word: se-x. Everything on them – off their disco styles, for the aggressive thrust of the shoe’s curvature, for the almost por-nographic red sole, flashing observers from behind because the lady walks away – shouts se-x.
Seemingly every celebrity within the paparazzi sun, from Lady Gaga to Victoria Beckham, has proclaimed their love of the man. But Louboutin himself proves to have remarkably little desire for the international celebrity scene. Was he starstruck when, say, Madonna was photographed wearing his shoes? No, he wasn’t. But he had been a little excited as he discovered the first Mrs Johnny Hallyday was really a fan – “Hallyday is a major singer in France, you realize.”
Louboutin also recently received the best honour a shoe designer can receive these days: his shoes should be featured from the new S-ex And The City film. This is not merely a serious plug, but a potentially controversial one, as Manolo Blahnik shoes were this sort of mainstay from the TV series how the term “Manolos” entered the lexicon. But is louboutins melbourne excited?
He even refused to be on the Oprah Winfrey Show when she did a whole episode about how precisely much she loves his shoes, which can be as near since you can reach being knighted in America. “They filmed the initial portion of the show in Paris and made me stand outside from the cold – so naturally I bought sick,” he says, still outraged from the cheek from 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 (you will find often plant particulars on his shoes), trapeze (they have a swing in their studio) and, occasionally, dancing. He recently made a film of himself tap dancing for Simon Fuller’s fashion website, Fashionair, and that is a vision of unselfconscious joy (and, yes, he made the sneakers).
He has also been redesigning his Paris apartment for five-years. “It’s not really that I’m a perfectionist,” he says, before launching into a seven-minute anecdote about how precisely he’s made the builders redo the windows 3 x to have the angles right.
Most of all, he works: supervising the factories, having meetings worldwide and after that, every six months, he will isolate himself in just one of his four country houses (Egypt, Syria, France, Portugal) as he designs the new collections.
Once we meet it’s the first day of Paris fashion week, a prospect that fails to suffuse his face with joy. “I never was enthusiastic about being a member of the style world – I simply wanted to design shoes. I didn’t realize Vogue existed when I was growing up. Vogue, exactly what is that?” he protests.
Some time ago, Louboutin was offered the task of designer at the major fashion label, though he won’t say what type. “And I really was almost offended,” he says, still sounding it. “I mean, the shoe – there is a music on it, there is attitude, there is sound, it’s a movement. Clothes – it’s an alternative 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 was created in 1963 and raised in Paris. His father was really a carpenter with his fantastic mother was “not” a higher heel fan. His four sisters liked “cork wedges”, he remembers, without having fondness. “Virtually the contrary of the things I actually do now.”
Yet his taste was established within his childhood. When Louboutin was 13, he and his friends would sneak out from school to visit Le Palace, a Paris nightclub, but while his mates looked at the women on stage, he just investigated their shoes. “Several of the shoes I make today remain inspired by the Palace – the disco look, the metal, the glitter.”
He never went along to 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 have fired: “It’s because I was a terrible assistant. An assistant should certainly assist – I always wanted to do my thing.”
He is adamant he never had any career plan or ambition to own his own company, which I don’t wholly buy. It is very hard to reach your goals without wanting it very badly, particularly in the fashion business, and Louboutin, for those his Gallic nonchalance, does have fun playing the game. He once chosen to miss a flight back to Paris from America so he could spend two more hours in the shopping area autographing his shoes. “To my favourite hot housewife,” Time magazine 06dexipky he scrawled using one customer’s shoe.
Today, Louboutin footwear is renowned for a couple of things: price and height. A couple of Louboutin high heels can certainly cost $700 (£465); boots may go as much as $2,000 (£1,325) plus more. Nor are his the only ones: all designer shoes appear to have increased in price by at least 50% during the last decade, which Louboutin blames about the euro – “Everything got more expensive, even bread” – in contrast to designers simply jacking in the prices when they realised people were ready to pay them.
As well as being inside the vanguard of higher prices, louboutin shoes melbourne is likewise the main thing on higher heels, bringing stilettos directly into fashion, together with all the current contradictions that come with them. Jennifer Lopez once told Harper’s Bazaar magazine that Louboutin’s shoes “kill you. But they’re the se-xiest shoes around.” How do immobility be se-xy?
At this time Louboutin starts discussing “the building of the shoe” and “the direction from the weight” and all sorts of the normal noises people make when trying to assert which a high-heeled shoe could be comfortable. But the truth is, whatever the building, the female is hoicked through to her toes. The argument about whether or not high heel shoes empower women is fruitless and, in fact this time, a little tired. But even Louboutin seems stumped by the contradiction. When I find out if comfort is an important consider designing his shoes, he ums and ahs a tad: “It is crucial because a woman doesn’t look nice if she’s not comfortable. But I wouldn’t take it being a compliment if somebody looked at one among my shoes and said, ‘Oh, that looks such as a comfortable shoe’,” he says with distinct scorn. When asked if you find such a thing as being a too-high heel, he replies, “You will find a heel which is too high to walk in, certainly. But who cares? You don’t ought to walk in high heel shoes.”