STYLE: The Heart And Sole Of Christian Louboutin
Before the avant-garde conspicuous kicks for men, there were the already-established red-soled stilettos from Christian Louboutin that have made fans a world over. The past two decades of Louboutin’s prolific background was recently cast in a new book. Although the published piece couldn’t reveal more of his background, fans can catch up with a retrospective of Louboutin’s work at the Design Museum and a forthcoming window display at Barneys. In an interview by Style.com, Christian Louboutin talks about his early sketches when he was only 12, his namesake book, the red sole trademark, and how travel affects his designs.
Excerpts of the interview can be seen below while the full interview can be seen here.
How has your work evolved over the years?
At the beginning, I was doing super-dressy shoes. It was more about dressing than undressing. I started by dressing women’s feet, and now I love to undress them. Some lines are more bare and the design is completely attached to the leg and it’s very minimal, leaving the foot as the object of desire. Nudity and undressing have both become a big element. It’s nice to see the evolution and like everyone else, it’s a work in progress. I have never thought that everything is perfect and it still isn’t.
Do you have a favorite pair that you’ve designed?
It really changes. You cannot really like one pair of shoes more than the others. They remind you of a moment, like a memory of a great love story. I look at another shoe related to a great trip and it reminds me of that. They are all different.
Let’s talk about the beginnings of Christian Louboutin. You started sketching shoes as a boy, right?
There are two sketches in the book from when I was 12. My mom had kept them and when she passed away, my sister had kept them. I basically keep nothing but when I was talking about the book, my sister sent them to me. One of the sketches looks like the Pigalle at one point. It was to get out of boredom at school. I wasn’t very interested in it. It was like a hobby. It was really like a nervous tic. I always sketched the same way: heel on left, point on the right—it was nervous drawing.
And the way the book is divided, into chapters, it actually begins before the company was founded.
At the beginning, we—editor Eric Reinhardt and I—started to look at the shoes; I started talking, he was recording. He came back to me at one point and said, “I think you have enough interesting things to say that it should be a dialogue. We should have this chapter about before you were a designer.” One thing I enjoy is someone who is an aesthete. The way they eat is completely connected to the way they live and the way they design. Eric told me, “In a way, you just don’t know it, but you are an aesthete. There’s no difference between your personal life and the way you decorate your house.” He wanted to show how the two mix.