Christian Louboutin: The Man Behind The Shoe
Christian Louboutin. The name is as mouth-watering as the delicate footwear the French designer not just creates, but breathes life into. And in a current Vanity Fair profile of the “Godfather of Sole,” it’s clear the man’s life is as fairytale-like as his modern-day glass slippers.
Seen on red carpets worldwide since 1992, a pair of Louboutin heels are instantly recognizable thanks to their now-iconic red sole (Christian finally trademarked it in the U.S. in 2008 and in the U.K. last year). Christian describes the flash of red as “an invitation, a green light” from the ladies who wear them.
More than 340,000 pairs of Louboutin’s are sold annually, with prices ranging from $495 to an amount the man himself “refuses to reveal.” According to VF, custom-made shoes, like ones with a sole made entirely of rubies, can rise into the “high five figures.”
Celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez are unabashed devotees, with Lopez going as far as naming her comeback single in the shoe’s honor. Lady Gaga, who wears her nude pumps everywhere, is quoted as saying, “The red soles remind me it is very important to be consistent in the work,” and Patti LaBelle humorously shares with the article’s author: “Girl, I once knew a lady who painted her own soles red—she was so pitiful.”
While leading ladies sing his praises in unison, Louboutin says he’s never pushed celebrities into wearing his shoes; he rarely gives pairs away and offers slim discounts at his stores. “Whether you’re talking about a celebrity or any female, the most important aspect of women is desire,” he says. “The woman needs to think: When can I have it? Ohhhh, I want it so badly, I can’t wait. If you take that away from a woman, you take away a lot.”
Louboutin describes a woman’s arch as “the most beautiful thing in the world”, explaining “I would not call myself a fetishist, in that I am not specifically sexually interested in these shoes. But I must admit I love to look at them very much.”
Louboutin’s latest collection highlight is the “Marie Antoinette” (above). Featuring an image of the French sovereign herself, only 36 pairs were created at the reasonable price of $6,295 per pair.
Speaking of collections, Louboutin says “For me, a big customer has to own at least 500 pairs of shoes. I’d say about 3,000 women have 500 pairs.” And who is Louboutin’s number one customer? “[Author] Danielle Steel, for sure. She has at least 6,000 pairs, if not more.”
Listen to J. Lo’s “Louboutins” and contemplate you next—or first—pair of Louboutins:
Image credit: VF.com