Christian Louboutin, born in 1963, is a Parisian shoe designer, most known for his famous red soled shoes.
Louboutin was expelled from school three times and then decided to run away from home at the age of 12, at which point his mother allowed him to move out to live at a friend's house. He faced much opposition when he decided to drop out from school. However, he claims that what helped him make up his mind was an interview on TV with Sophia Loren, in which she introduced her sister, saying she had to leave school when she was only 12, but when she turned 50, she got her degree.
Louboutin has said before that his first inspiration to create women's shoes, was his obsession with the showgirls and the dancers that were in Paris at this time. He used to sneak into watch the shows, and he says "I wanted to create something that broke rules and made women feel confident and empowered."
Fascinated by world cultures, he ran away in his teens to Egypt and spent a year in India. Louboutin returned to Paris in 1981, where he assembled a portfolio of drawings of elaborate high heels. He brought it to the top couture houses. The effort resulted in employment with Charles Jourdan. Subsequently, Louboutin met ROGER VIVIER who claims to have invented the stiletto, or spiked-heel shoe. Louboutin became an apprentice in Vivier's atelier.
He opened a Paris shoe salon in 1991 and his first customer was Princess Caroline of Manaco, who he says helped him create his image. Louboutin says that his aim of his heels are to "make a woman look sexy, beautiful, to make her legs look as long as he can". It seems that his aim has been completed by selling over 700,000 pairs of shoes a year, to a lot of beautiful, celebrity clients.
Today, Louboutin's designs are extremely different from how he designed shoes originally. He started to design very classic heels with his trademark red sole. However today, his shoes vary from having, exotic skins, spikes, feathers, crystals, fur, chains, paint and ribbons.
One of the most classic pairs of Christian Louboutin's would be the "Pigalle 120". These shoes were named after his favourite part of Paris, where a lot of the dancers that he loved would be. Today, they are seen as a high end status item, and wouldn't really be worn in the area that they are named after.
Back in 1993 when he had been in business for about two years, "Louboutin had thought of making a shoe inspired by Andy Warhol’s 'Flowers.'
The prototype, a pink stacked heel with a cartoonish cloth blossom, had arrived from Italy. 'I was very happy, because it was similar to the drawing,' Louboutin recalled, 'but the drawing still was stronger and I could not understand why.'
Louboutin continued, 'There was this big black sole, and then, thank God, there was this girl painting her nails at the time.' Louboutin grabbed the nail polish—it was red—from the assistant and slathered it on the sole of the prototype. 'Then it popped,' he recalled, 'and I thought, This is the drawing!'
I visited a department store in Milan called la Rinascente and visited the shoe area and i wanted to compare how they were set out in comparison to a London department store, Selfridges. I looked at the Charlotte Olympia section in particular, as i know her shoes are very bright, colourful and eye catching.
I found that there were never a pair of shoes laid out together. Only one of each shoe. I feel like this is really good as Charlotte Olympia, especially, has really bold shoes and very striking i think it is good that there is only one to focus on of each shoe.
Charlotte Olympia at Selfridges
When i visited Selfridges, i saw that the shoes were very similarly layer out to the Charlotte Olympia shoes in Milan. They only had one of each shoe out again, also i liked how they were spread out from the other shoes, so the focus was more on the one shoe.
I think that this is quite a standard way of presenting the shoes, as i looked around the other areas of the shoes, it seemed like they were all presented the same way and all had the same sort of layout in the store.