God forgive me, I interviewed Christian Louboutin while wearing some trainers. Not fancy sci-fi ones either, but properly old and grimy ones. Louboutin is probably the most famous shoe designers in the world and officially one of the most prestigious, according to independent ratings company Luxury Institute, which includes named Christian Louboutin as the most desirable shoe brand on earth in the past three years. He is even the man who is credited, or blamed, for bringing the stiletto directly into fashion. So wearing trainers to satisfy him is a bit like suggesting to Jamie Oliver 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, in the discreet logo about the side, Christian Louboutin, which, presumably, would be useful should he forget his name.)
“I check out the face first. So when I check out the face, I try and start to see the personality and, from that, guess which kind of shoes this girl will have.”
Perhaps he was just 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 coming year – and failed to sleep on the plane “in any way”. And when he warms up and we turn the conversation far from strict business chat, he is great fun, making dry remarks then smiling quietly afterwards. At one point I inquire if, having shod pretty much every celebrity worldwide, from Madonna to France’s first lady Carla Bruni, there may be anyone left he’d like as being a customer. His eyes skirt across the office, settling eventually on a couple 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 fashion world. That became jeans. Now, more than ever, it’s shoes and bags, which is no coincidence that Louboutin arrived from the 90s when this switch began. He, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo’s Tamara Mellon are the Holy Trinity from the luxury footwear market, having helped turn shoes from something you add on your own feet to protect yourself from splinters into fetish objects for girls. Louboutin has become near the top of that triangle.
Where Manolo Blahnik shoes are either plain or quirky, and Jimmy Choos get the distinct sheen of Eurotrash directly to them, Christian Louboutin shoes say one particular word: se-x. Everything about them – using their disco styles, on the aggressive thrust in the shoe’s curvature, for the almost por-nographic red sole, flashing observers from behind since the lady walks away – shouts se-x.
Seemingly every celebrity beneath the paparazzi sun, from Lady Gaga to Victoria Beckham, has proclaimed their love of the guy. 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 found out how the first Mrs Johnny Hallyday was a fan – “Hallyday is a huge singer in France, you already know.”
Louboutin also recently received the highest honour a shoe designer can receive today: his shoes need to be featured from the new S-ex Along With The City film. This is not merely an important plug, but a potentially controversial one, as Manolo Blahnik shoes were this type of mainstay from the TV series how the term “Manolos” entered the lexicon. But is louboutins melbourne excited?
He even refused to go on the Oprah Winfrey Show when she did a complete episode about how exactly much she loves his shoes, which happens to be as near as you can reach being knighted in the united states. “They filmed the 1st area of the show in Paris and taught me to stand outside within the cold – so of course I bought sick,” he says, still outraged by the cheek of it. “So then 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 information on his shoes), trapeze (he has a swing within his studio) and, occasionally, dancing. He recently made a film of himself tap dancing for Simon Fuller’s fashion website, Fashionair, which is a vision of unselfconscious joy (and, yes, he made the footwear).
He has also been redesigning his Paris apartment for five years. “It’s not really that I’m a perfectionist,” he says, before launching in to a seven-minute anecdote about how exactly he’s made the builders redo the windows thrice to find the angles right.
Primarily, he works: supervising the factories, having meetings around the globe and then, twice yearly, he will isolate himself in one of his four country houses (Egypt, Syria, France, Portugal) as he designs the latest collections.
Whenever we meet it’s the first day of Paris fashion week, a prospect that does not suffuse his face with joy. “I never was interested in being a member of the fashion world – I recently planned to design shoes. I didn’t know Vogue existed once i was growing up. Vogue, what is that?” he protests.
Some time ago, Louboutin was offered the task of designer at a major fashion label, though he won’t say what type. “And That I really was almost offended,” he says, still sounding it. “I mean, the shoe – you will find a music with it, there may be 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 particular.
Louboutin was born in 1963 and raised in Paris. His father was really a carpenter and his mother was “not at all” a higher heel fan. His four sisters liked “cork wedges”, he remembers, with no fondness. “Just about the exact opposite of what I do now.”
Yet his taste was established in his childhood. When Louboutin was 13, he and his awesome friends would sneak out from school to see Le Palace, a Paris nightclub, but while his mates investigated the girls on stage, he just looked at their shoes. “Some of the shoes I make today will still be inspired through the Palace – the disco look, the metal, the glitter.”
He never visited fashion or design school and instead got his training doing work for, among others, Charles Jourdan, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. However, he had an unfortunate tendency to have fired: “It’s because I was a horrible assistant. An assistant should really assist – I always wanted to do my own, personal thing.”
He is adamant that he or she never had any career plan or ambition to have his own company, which I don’t wholly buy. It is very hard to achieve success without wanting it very badly, particularly in the fashion business, and Louboutin, for all those his Gallic nonchalance, does have fun playing the game. He once made a decision to miss your 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 on one customer’s shoe.
Today, Louboutin footwear is known for two things: price and height. Some Louboutin high heel shoes can certainly cost $700 (£465); boots can go as much as $2,000 (£1,325) plus more. Nor are his really the only ones: all designer shoes appear to have increased in price by no less than 50% in the last decade, which Louboutin blames in the euro – “Everything got more costly, even bread” – instead of designers simply jacking the prices once they realised individuals were happy to pay them.
As well as being inside the vanguard of higher prices, louboutin australia is also at the forefront of higher heels, bringing stilettos directly into fashion, together with the contradictions that are included 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 referring to “the making of the shoe” and “the direction from the weight” and all of the usual noises people make when trying to claim a high-heeled shoe could be comfortable. But the reality is, irrespective of what the construction, the lady is hoicked high on her toes. The argument about whether high heel shoes empower women is fruitless and, after all now, just a little tired. But even Louboutin seems stumped through the contradiction. As I inquire if comfort is really a aspect in designing his shoes, he ums and ahs a tad: “It is necessary since a woman doesn’t look great if she’s not comfortable. Nevertheless I wouldn’t carry it as a compliment if a person looked at one of my shoes and said, ‘Oh, that appears just like a comfortable shoe’,” he says with distinct scorn. When asked if you have this like a too-high heel, he replies, “There is a heel that is excessive to walk in, certainly. But who cares? You don’t need to walk in high heel shoes.”