Christian Louboutin Photo Credit: Alexandra Kinga Fekete
Christian Louboutin’s signature red-soled shoes are among the fashion world’s most iconic symbols of luxury and style.
Expelled from school at age 16, Louboutin went to work at the famed Parisian cabaret Folies Bergère. He did all sorts of jobs for the dancers, but the one that fulfilled his dream was making shoes for them. Then, in the early ’80s, he landed a job with Charles Jourdan and learned the ins and outs of the shoe business.
Ten years later, Louboutin set up his own shop in Paris. He found the inspiration for his trademark red outer soles in 1993. "My assistant was sitting there, painting her nails red. I took one look and decided to color my soles red as a statement for the season. I thought, 'Oh my god! Red soles are so flirtatious,' and my customers asked me not to stop."
Discover how the inspiration he described as “a courtesan living out her life in a circus" has turned his surrealistically beautiful shoes into an international success story when he sits down with Fern Mallis, the award-winning creator and organizer of New York Fashion Week.
Christian Louboutin was created in 1992 when Louboutin opened his first boutique at 19 Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Paris. An artist and a craftsman with a true passion for shoes, his designs are unique and instantly recognizable, thanks in part to their signature and now trademarked red lacquered soles. Louboutin’s collections for both women and men combine wit, glamour, elegance and technical proficiency like none other.
Since the brand’s launch, his creations have been immortalized in museums, on fashion week runways, red carpets and in pop culture around the world. A woman’s beauty has always been at the centre of Louboutin’s inspiration, and 2014 welcomed the launch of Christian Louboutin Beauté with its first nail colour, Rouge Louboutin. The brand’s highly anticipated ‘second chapter’ of beauty, lip colour, launched in September 2015. This year saw further expansion, entering the world of fragrance through the launch of three signature Christian Louboutin fragrances in September 2016.
With a prolific collection of women’s and men’s shoes, day and evening handbags and small leather goods, Christian Louboutin now counts more than one hundred boutiques around the world, including several locations dedicated to men’s and a one-of-a-kind beauty boutique located in the heart of Paris’ 1st Arrondissement, just two doors away from 19 Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
The award-winning creator and organizer of Fashion Week in New York and cities across the globe, Fern Mallis has been an industry game changer in the world of fashion and design for more than 35 years. A former senior vice president of IMG Fashion and executive director of CFDA, she is the author of Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis, published by Rizzoli, which features no-holds-barred interviews, combined with never-before-seen personal photographs from interviewees such as Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Betsey Johnson, Polly Mellen, Bruce Weber and more. She is currently the president of her own leading international fashion and design consultancy, Fern Mallis LLC.