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 one of the most well-known shoe designers on the planet and officially the most prestigious, based on independent ratings company Luxury Institute, which includes named Christian Louboutin as being the most desirable shoe brand on the planet in the past three years. He is even the man who is credited, or blamed, for bringing the stiletto back to fashion. So wearing trainers to fulfill him is a touch like suggesting to Jamie Oliver that we meet at McDonald’s for lunch.
However – whaddyaknow – christian louboutins melbourne turns as much as his tiny and stiletto-filled office wearing trainers himself. (Although where mine say Converse, his say, in a discreet logo in the side, Christian Louboutin, which, presumably, would be useful should he forget his name.)
“I consider the face first. And whenever I consider the face, I attempt to begin to see the personality and, from that, guess what type of shoes this girl will have.”
Perhaps he was just tired. He had flown in this 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 “by any means”. And when he warms up and we turn the conversation far from strict business chat, he is really good fun, making dry remarks then smiling quietly afterwards. At some time I inquire if, having shod pretty much every celebrity on earth, from Madonna to France’s first lady Carla Bruni, there may be anyone left he’d like as a customer. His eyes skirt around the office, settling at last on a pair of particularly high black stilettos, studded all over with silver spikes. He turns back and replies, po-faced, “The Queen of England.”
For many years, 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 in the 90s if this switch began. He, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo’s Tamara Mellon will be the Holy Trinity from the luxury footwear market, having helped turn shoes from something you put in your feet to protect yourself from splinters into fetish objects for girls. Louboutin is already towards the top of that triangle.
Where Manolo Blahnik shoes are either plain or quirky, and Jimmy Choos get the distinct sheen of Eurotrash for them, Christian Louboutin shoes say one easy word: se-x. Everything about them – from the disco styles, towards the aggressive thrust from the shoe’s curvature, on the almost por-nographic red sole, flashing observers from behind as the lady walks away – shouts se-x.
Seemingly every celebrity underneath the paparazzi sun, from Lady Gaga to Victoria Beckham, has proclaimed their love of the man. But Louboutin himself proves to possess 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 was really a little excited as he determined that this first Mrs Johnny Hallyday was really a fan – “Hallyday is an important singer in France, you realize.”
Louboutin also recently received the best honour a shoe designer can receive today: his shoes are to be featured from the new S-ex And Also The City film. This is not only an important 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 a whole episode about how exactly much she loves his shoes, which is as near since you can get to being knighted in the us. “They filmed the first area of the show in Paris and taught me to stand outside from the cold – so naturally I purchased sick,” he says, still outraged from the cheek of this. “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 in his studio) and, occasionally, dancing. He recently produced a film of himself tap dancing for Simon Fuller’s fashion website, Fashionair, which is actually a vision of unselfconscious joy (and, yes, he made the sneakers).
He has been specifically redesigning his Paris apartment for 5 years. “It’s not too I’m a perfectionist,” he says, before launching into a seven-minute anecdote about how exactly he’s made the builders redo the windows three times to have the angles right.
First and foremost, he works: supervising the factories, having meetings all over the world after which, every six months, he will isolate himself in one of his four country houses (Egypt, Syria, France, Portugal) when he designs the new collections.
If we meet it’s the very first day of Paris fashion week, a prospect that will not suffuse his face with joy. “I never was considering being a member of the fashion world – I really wished to design shoes. I didn’t realize Vogue existed as i was being raised. Vogue, precisely 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 which. “And I Also really was almost offended,” he says, still sounding it. “After all, the shoe – you will discover a music on it, there is attitude, there exists 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 was born in 1963 and raised in Paris. His father had been a carpenter and his mother was “definitely not” a high heel fan. His four sisters liked “cork wedges”, he remembers, without any fondness. “Just about the opposite of the I really do now.”
Yet his taste was established in their childhood. When Louboutin was 13, he and his 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 investigated their shoes. “A number of the shoes I make today continue to be inspired through the Palace – the disco look, the metal, the glitter.”
He never went along to fashion or design school and instead got his training employed by, among others, Charles Jourdan, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. However, he had an unfortunate tendency to obtain fired: “It’s because I used to be a horrible assistant. An assistant should really assist – I always wanted to do my thing.”
He is adamant he never had any career plan or ambition to have his very own company, that i don’t wholly buy. It is very hard to have success without wanting it very badly, particularly in the fashion business, and Louboutin, for all his Gallic nonchalance, does have fun playing the game. He once chosen to miss your flight straight back to Paris from America so he could spend two more hours in a department store autographing his shoes. “To my favourite hot housewife,” Time magazine 06dexipky he scrawled on one customer’s shoe.
Today, Louboutin shoes are known for two things: price and height. Some Louboutin high heel shoes can certainly cost $700 (£465); boots may go as much as $2,000 (£1,325) plus more. Nor are his really the only ones: all designer shoes seem to have increased in price by at the very least 50% within the last decade, which Louboutin blames on the euro – “Everything got more costly, even bread” – rather than designers simply jacking the prices once they realised people were prepared to pay them.
In addition to being from the vanguard of higher prices, australia louboutin shoes can also be the main thing on higher heels, bringing stilettos back in fashion, together with the contradictions which 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 could immobility be se-xy?
At this time Louboutin starts speaking about “the making of the shoe” and “the direction from the weight” and the normal noises people make when trying to claim which a high-heeled shoe may be comfortable. But the truth is, regardless of what the building, the girl is hoicked through to her toes. The argument about whether or not high heel shoes empower women is fruitless and, in the end now, just a little tired. But even Louboutin seems stumped with the contradiction. As I find out if comfort is a vital consider designing his shoes, he ums and ahs a tad: “It is necessary because a woman doesn’t look nice if she’s not comfortable. Having Said That I wouldn’t accept it being a compliment if someone checked out one of my shoes and said, ‘Oh, that appears just like a comfortable shoe’,” he says with distinct scorn. When asked if there is this as being a too-high heel, he replies, “You will find a heel which is too much just to walk in, certainly. But who cares? You don’t ought to walk in high heels.”