The shoe designer Christian Louboutin was born in 1963. He discovered his passion for fashion and shoes after a visit to the museum of African art where he sees a sign of prohibition showing a woman’s shoe pointed and barred heel with a red line.
Since then, the finesse of the women’s shoe has always obsessed him. When it was more yellow, the creator was fascinated by Parisian musical theaters and started creating shoes for dancers. In 1980 he was apprenticed in the cabaret Folies Bergères and two years later he began his work at Charles Jourdan where he creates shoes for famous brands like Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel.
Very elegant women shoes by Christian Louboutin
The designer definitely turned to the shoe world in 1992 when he founded Christian Louboutin with two close friends. Her shoes and her exquisite shop in the Véro-Dodat gallery in Paris soon became famous all over the world. Today there are more than 40 shops of the brand and it produces 850,000 shoes each year.
We meet Christian Louboutin at the 2014 Financial Timess Business of Luxury Summit in Mexico where he tells us about his influences, his creative process and his superstitious beliefs.
Elegant shoes in gold
-What is the best time of the day?
CL : It’s either at the beginning or at the end.
– What kind of music do you like to listen to right now?
CL : A mix of Bollywood songs that includes hits from the 60s – 90s.
– What kind of books can I find on your bedside table?
CL . : I read “Anthology of Apparitions” by the French author Simon Liberati. After reading the first page, I was completely captivated by his book and I hope it will be as good until the end. It is very important to me that a book or movie impresses me from the beginning.
Very original design shoes by Louboutin
Which newspaper do you like to inform?
CL : International Mail – it gives an overview of international affairs every week and their reporting is objective.
-Do you ever read fashion or design magazines?
CL : To be honest, not so often. I have a soft spot for the American Vanity Fair but my Bible is Gardens Illustrated that I read every month – it’s a very, very good magazine.
– Do you notice how women dress, do you have a preference for a particular outfit?
CL : Context is everything. I prefer when women wear dresses because I like how dresses influence the body language of women. I also like skirts, my favorite garment is the pencil skirt because it forces the woman to have a nice attitude. I like everything that makes you see the woman’s legs because I love to see her walking.
Interesting sandals in red
– Is there a type of clothing that you do not wear?
CL: anything reminiscent of the baggys – that was never my thing. I grit my teeth when I think of something I did when I was a teenager and when I see that there are always people doing this today – wearing lace-up shoes with socks. Another thing I hate are the ankle socks – I have a huge problem with it.
-How do you describe your style?
CL : Flirty
– How has your work evolved over the years?
CL : I’ve always been very detail-oriented but I’ve gone from embellishment to nudity – from creating for the woman who loves to dress up to creating for the woman who likes to undress.
Purple leather ankle boots
– Of all the shoes that you have created, which gave you the most satisfaction?
CL : What gives me the most joy is not the end product but the creative process. There is a shoe I created called “Clovis” and of which there are only 36 pairs produced. The shoe is the idea behind are very beautiful – a friend who had a flirtation with someone writing to her a lot of love letters. I took some of these letters and rose petals and embalmed the inside of a transparent shoe so you could literally float in love. It was a real challenge to make this shoe and most pairs broke but I loved this shoe and its creation.
-What are the criteria you consider for creating a new pair of shoes?
CL : A beautiful pair of shoes must seduce men and women at the same time. I mix the me of the designer of shoes for woman and the me of the man. First comes the designer who draws and revises the silhouette, then comes the man who looks at the shoe from a very masculine point of view. There is a conflict between the two me – sometimes wins the man, sometimes the creator. The designer has a lot of ideas about the appearance of shoes and women and then the man in me asks himself if he wants to see his daughter wearing these shoes.
I always take into consideration how the shoe will be put on the foot, its relationship with the ankle and leg – it’s very important. I often see shoes that are interesting until a woman puts them on her feet. Nobody wants to wear clumsy shoes.
Woman sandals in black satin
-What fascinates you at the moment and how does it relate to your work?
CL : I like archeology and explore the ideas and themes of the past. The past is good because the present allows us to digest and analyze it. I’m obsessed with Oscar Niemeyer, the dolls I collect and the Zuñi tribe.
-Do you discuss your work with other creators outside your office?
CL : I have creative friends but we naturally avoid talking about our work. Creation is always present in the mind of a creator and as I said it is a process of digestion that I keep for except when I’m collaborating with someone else. The opposite can be really exhausting for others.
-Where are you working on your projects?
CL : I always start with drawing and I draw everywhere except in my office in Paris because when I’m there, I always distract myself. I need to isolate myself to be able to concentrate. I can spend a few days without drawing but when I start the idea comes to me naturally – one drawing leads to another and so on.
Louboutin’s open toe shoes
– … So it happens to you very often to draw?
CL : Yes, but I only draw shoes. I enjoy revising the drawings and trying to perfect them. When I was more yellow I trained to become more sensitive to the shape. I studied architecture and objects and I paid a lot of attention to the lines. The beauty comes from the shape, the proportions and the relationship between the lines. It is a great success if one can understand the form and I have a compulsive obsession with it.
-How do you decide on the color of your shoes?
CL : The color itself does not mean much to me. It’s always a question of how much of the color is used, there is always another dimension that is very important to the appearance.
If we are talking about black in the office, I need to know if it is black leather, black satin, stone or black metal – matte or glossy. Black alone does not tell me anything. If you take another color, green for example, natural green shades are beautiful but sometimes impossible to apply on materials. I love green velvet and pistachio satin but I absolutely hate green leather and ceramics.
Modern women’s sandals in red
-Do you have superstitious beliefs or rules that you impose on yourself?
CL: I think there are things we can not control and others that we can. I have a very strong attachment to my first office in Paris and I will never move from this place. As a result we are separated in several buildings in Paris but it does not really bother me. It’s something that may sound sentimental or superstitious but I feel happy there.
Since you are in Mexico, it reminds me that I do not like to have skulls close to me because they represent death. I made shoes with skulls and a friend was scared when she saw them. She told me never to associate with anything related to death and it stayed with me – now I’m afraid of skulls.
-What is your personal motto?
CL: Be completely honest with yourself and you will be happy.
Design sandals by Louboutin
Wedge sandals with soles very interesting
Women’s sandals in pink
Women’s transparent sandals
Multicolored sandals by Louboutin