Christian Louboutin is known for his shoes that featured the signature red soles. He has become one of the most sought-after designers over the past few years. His popularity grew after countless celebrities and fashionistas were notiched on the red carpets in to-die-for shoes, all featuring that signature red sole.
Let’s see some interesting facts about Christian Louboutin and his shoes!
1. Christian Louboutin is French. He was born and raised in Paris’s 12th arrondissement.
2. After a lifetime of assuming he was adopted thanks to a skin tone that was significantly darker than his three sisters’, in 2014 Christian Louboutin discovered that he was the product of a passionate affair his mother had with an Egyptian man. Ironically, in 2012 he had said in an interview with The Scotsman: “I felt I wasn’t French. My family was very French and so I decided they had probably adopted me. But instead of feeling it was terrible and that I was an outsider who had to go and find my real family, I invented my own history, full of characters from Egypt because I was very into the pharaohs”.
3. He 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.
4. 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. He later remarked, “Everybody applauded! And I thought, ‘Well, at least if I regret it I’m going to be like the sister of Sophia Loren!”
5. Christian Louboutin began his career as a shoe designer in 1982, designing shoes for popular names such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.
6. He began his high-end shoe line in the early 1990s and opened his first store in 1991 in Paris, France. In 1992, he introduced the now-famous red soles to his line of fabulous shoes and they immediately became the tootsie icon of elite exclusivity.
7. Louboutin claims his fascination with shoes began in 1976, when he visited the Musée national des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie on the avenue Daumesnil. It was there that he saw a sign from Africa forbidding women wearing sharp stilettos from entering a building for fear of damage to the extensive wood flooring. This image stayed in his mind, and he later used this idea in his designs. “I wanted to defy that,” Louboutin said. “I wanted to create something that broke rules and made women feel confident and empowered.
8. The very first shoes he ever designed were inspired by the famous image of Diana, Princess of Wales sitting in front of the Taj Mahal during her visit to India in 1992. “I remember the picture at the time of Princess Diana and she was looking at her feet and I thought she looked so sad….It would be nice to have something to make her smile, when she looked at her feet.” So he made a pair of flat suede pumps with the word ‘LOVE’ written in his signature red, ‘LO’ on the left foot, ‘VE’ on the right.
9. Back in the 1970’s he went through a punk phase. Christian Louboutin was in a few films, including 1979 cult classic Race d’ep and The Homosexual Century, which attracted an English-language audience. His first job was at the Folies Bergères, the cabaret where he assisted the entertainers backstage. He was also a fixture on the city’s party scene, clubbing his nights away alongside Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol.
10. In the late 1980s, he turned away from fashion to become a landscape gardener but missed working with shoes and set up his company in 1991.
11. Christian Louboutin helped bring stilettos back into fashion in the 1990s and 2000s, designing dozens of styles with heel heights of 120 mm (4.72 inches) and higher.
12. Christian Louboutin’s famous red soles were inspired by an employee’s nail polish, so it’s only fair that those same red soles inspired a manicure called, what else, but the “Louboutin Manicure.”The trend involved painting the underside of the fingernail tip red, and the top of the nail black, so what looked like normal black polish delivered quick flashes of red, much like catching a fleeting glimpse of a Louboutin sole.
13. His ‘So Kate’ heels were inspired by Kate Moss while he was fitting her for shoes for her wedding celebrations. The model has countless pairs of his iconic ‘Pigalle’ heels, so Louboutin decided to “reshape” it slightly and make a version perfect for her. He lengthened the point of the toe, closed the heel in more, made the heel pin-thin and higher.
14. The red sole is protected as a trademark in several countries, and litigation has taken place in various disputes in which Louboutin claimed infringement of its rights. Litigation generally also involved discussion of the validity or the scope of protection of the trademark.
15. For a short time, some Christian Louboutin shoes were available with baby blue soles, intended to provide the “something blue” for brides-to-be, these creations were only available via special order, and were very short-lived.
16. Christian Louboutin is not just for women. When people think of Louboutin shoes, they almost automatically think of stilettos with the signature red sole. But I bet many people would be surprised to learn that Louboutin designs men shoes as well and you can see many of his men’s footwear in his boutiques, as well as online and through specialty retailers.
17. Every Christian Louboutin boutique is different, though they all share one thing in common: each was designed and decorated by Louboutin himself.
18. Christian Louboutin has friends in high places. One of Louboutin’s first high-profile customer was Princess Caroline of Monaco. Seeing such a high-profile lady in these beautiful red-soled shoes eventually attracted other high-profile clients including Madonna, Diane von Furstenberg, Jennifer Lopez (who made a song praising his fabulous shoes), Sara Jessica Parker, and just about every other celebrity fashionista that you can think of…
19. His biggest client is Danielle Steel, who is reputed to own over 6,000 pairs and is known to have purchased up to 80 pairs at a time when shopping at his stores. Ms. Steel is an American novelist, currently the best selling author alive and the fourth bestselling author of all time, with over 800 million copies sold.
20. In his first year of business, Christian Louboutin sold 200 pairs of shoes.
21. Louboutins can sell from $495 and up, with crystal-encrusted pairs costing up to $6,000. The base price for a custom-made pair of Louboutin is $4,000. If the style already exists, it is standard price tag plus 30%.
22. Unfortunately for us, Christian Louboutin will never consider doing a lower-priced line, despite being asked many times before, because it would compromise quality. “It would offend me to put my name on a design I would not be proud of. It’s non negotiable.” he says.
23. Despite a huge personal shoe collection (he has over 100 pairs in his Paris home alone) he often thinks he doesn’t have the right shoes for the right occasion – which, he says, is great because it gives him design ideas. He keeps his shoes in categories; spike-embellished in one cupboard, metal-tipped in another, and sneakers in another.
24. Christian Louboutin designs more than just shoes. In fact, in his boutiques and various high-end retailers around the word, you can also find Louboutin handbags which include signature red fabric inside.
25. He has a devoted Bangladeshi butler, Safquat, who goes everywhere with him and caters to his every whim, even on holiday.