CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN – 20 YEARS OF CRAFTING SCARLET-SOLED SHOESJuly 2nd, 2012
Christian Louboutin is the unrivalled master of the feminine shoe. His intricate designs are not only fabulous creations on their own, but when a female foot is slipped in to them, they accentuate the sexy arch, streamline the legs, and ooze elegance and glamour. The flash of red sole as the woman walks tells the world ‘I’m wearing Louboutins’ – and they are the ultimate luxury, with most of the staggeringly high heels designed for ladies who walk in to a cab/chauffeur-driven car, out to the restaurant, and on to a party where she lounges on a chair. These are not practical shoes for walking. And that’s why we love them.
Mr Louboutin has been in the business for 20 successful years, and to recognise his contribution to fashion, the London Design Museum is hosting a retrospective exhibition of his life’s work. I was lucky enough to visit the exhibition this weekend, and it was one of my favourite art experiences to date!
The Design Museum perfectly captured Louboutin’s world; walking in to the main room through an arch of red lights felt like we were entering the Moulin Rouge of shoes. One wall is covered in the red shoe moulds which are the starting point for his designs, and it’s hard to believe something so beautiful can be formed from this chunky wooden object. We are walked through some of Louboutin’s most famous, outrageous, and downright unwearable pairs of shoes, with visitors poring over each pair as they would an ancient manuscript or artifact.
The whole exhibition is styled beautifully, with each pair of shoes displayed next to a gold oyster shell and uplit from behind, and some shoes arranged on a giant carousel. There was even an X-rated area cloaked in curtains – Louboutin teamed up with film-maker David Lynch to create a range of shoes with a ‘fetish’ theme – in the words of Christian himself: “Most people see shoes as an accessory to walk in, however some shoes are made for running and some shoes are made for sex. If there was to be just one fetish element in a womans wardrobe I think it would have to be her shoes, even without being stilettos”.
The Fetish collection included ballet slippers with transparent bottoms, with the toes visible, high heels fused together, and spike-ridden sandals.
The exhibition also displayed Louboutin’s 20th anniversary collection of shoes – rumour has it he gifted this whole range to his friend and muse Blake Lively. Lucky girl! We had a peek in to Mr Louboutin’s Paris Atelier, complete with treasures from his travels and a trapeze for his leisure time (a truly decadent hobby!) plus we saw some fantastic one-off shoes including the Swarovski-studded ballet shoes which were created for the Royal National Ballet and the only time Louboutin has collaborated with another label, a limited edition shoe with YSL.
And we were also treated to a 3D hologram burlesque show by Dita Von Teese, who peeled off her layers inch by inch before turning in to a glittering Louboutin shoe.
A stunning exhibition and a must-see for all shoe lovers! It even won over my art-hating fiancee, although he did comment that it’s the first time he’s paid to walk around a giant shoe store!