Who doesn’t love a pair of heels? They not only make any outfit look good, but they make you feel good too. They may not always be practical, but then stilettos were never meant to be! That feeling when you pull your new shoes out of the box and try them on at home for the first time is liberating. How many of you have stood in front of the mirror and just admired them on your feet, and the way they make your body feel? I know I have many times. A great pair of shoes can give you confidence, they can lift your spirits and make you feel sensual. They can complement any outfit and give you the urge to strut your stuff! Oh for the love of shoes, yes, I think I have a fetish like many of you do!
One man who can be credited with giving women this lustrous feeling about themselves and what’s on their feet is Christian Louboutin. The French shoe designer has been decorating women’s feet for over twenty years now, and has certainly cemented his place in fashion history. Born and raised in Paris’ 12th arrondissment on January 7th 1964, Louboutin was the only son of a cabinet maker and stay at home mum. He had three sisters and spent most of his younger years surrounded by these women. Louboutin was fascinated during his childhood with the country Egypt, and it’s been reported that only a few years ago he discovered that his biological father was in fact Egyptian. Not being much of an academic, Louboutin was often expelled from school or failed to show up in the first place. By the age of twelve, he had taken inspiration from a Sophia Loren interview about her sister leaving school early and going on to achieve success. Louboutin follow suit with no doubt in his mind that his life would turn out just fine.
After leaving school, Louboutin found work at the famed Foiles Bergeres cabaret club in Paris. Here he experienced many things as a young boy, and became known as a bit of a party lad around town, cruising the scene with the likes of Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol. He also spent some time abroad, in Egypt and in India, before returning to Paris and setting his sights on shoes. His fascination with shoes came from a visit to a museum when he was a young boy, where there was a sign displaying no high heels to be worn inside the museum for fear of damaging the floor. With little formal training, Louboutin compiled a portfolio of shoe designs that he set off to show some of the couture houses in Paris. From these initial meetings, Louboutin was fortunate enough to impress Charles Jourdan, who gave him his first job as a shoe designer. It wasn’t long after this that he moved on to apprentice in the atelier of the renowned Roger Vivier, who had designed shoes for Christian Dior in the 1950’s.
After learning many skills and encouraging what was his natural abilities, Louboutin became a freelance shoe designer himself. He designed collections for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Maud Frizon. After taking a short break form designing, Louboutin found the calling too strong, and in 1991 with the help of two backers, set up his own business. One of his first clients was Princess Caroline of Monaco, who just happened to be in the store at the same time as a journalist. This meeting set the scene for Louboutin and he has never looked backed. There are many famous women who have fallen in love with the red soled shoes, including Catherine Deneuve, Joan Collins, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker and Blake Lively. One of Louboutin’s biggest fans is reported to be Danielle Steel, who is said to have over six thousand pairs of Louboutin’s in her wardrobe!
Christian Louboutin has been credited with bringing the stiletto back to life. His heels are around one hundred and twenty millimetres high, and are recognised the world over for the flaming red sole. The idea for the coloured sole came about when Louboutin was looking for something to liven up his designs. His assistant was painting her nails a vibrant shade of red next to him one day in the studio, and Louboutin stole the bottle and painted the sole of his latest creation. He knew in an instant that it would become his trademark! The colour has its own unique Pantone code of 18-1663 TPX. The majority of Louboutin’s shoes are aimed at the upmarket dressy fashionista. They are adorned with all sorts of embellishments depending of the inspiration for the season. Jewels, bows, feathers and patent leather are all featured on some of his more sensual designs. Know amongst the elite as the “Sammy red soled shoes”, Louboutin’s signature was created in 1993, and over the years the designer has fought many battles to keep this design feature exclusively his.
Christian Louboutin has achieved immense success since the start up of his business. In his first year of trading he sold about two hundred pairs of shoes, and by 2012, was turning over around 700,000 pairs! Of the $300 million in annual revenue, almost 95% of it comes from shoe sales alone. The United States is by far the biggest market for the stunning red soles, making up 52% of the company’s sales. The majority of the shoes are produced in a factory in Milan, where Louboutin employs about four hundred and twenty staff. Known as Loubis Angels, the staff work tirelessly to bring his creations to life. For a long time Christian Louboutin resisted the calls for him to design other luxury goods. In 2003 he developed his first line of handbags and purses, and has since branched out into men’s footwear, luxury beauty products (including a red nail varnish), and fragrance. He has also been involved in many side projects over the years as well, including partnership with Disney, Mattel, Apple, and a photo exhibit with David Lynch.
So if you’re the kind of woman who loves the feel of a well crafter pair of shoes on her feet, and you’ve got between $400 to $6000, then maybe a pair of Louboutin’s is what you need! With the desire to make women feel sexy and flirtatious, Christian Louboutin has certainly achieved this many times over. Striking, iconic, and damn right hot, the Louboutin brand of shoes with their lively red sole is certainly something I will be striving to own in my vast shoe collection.
Love Always, Anastacia Rose xx