Louboutin was born and raised in Paris' 12th arrondissement. He was the only son of Roger, an ébeniste (cabinet-maker), and Irene, a homemaker. His parents are French and he has three sisters. He also has Cameroonian ancestors. Louboutin said in a 2012 interview that he was "much darker-skinned than everyone else in his family. You know, 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."
Louboutin was expelled from school three times and ran 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. 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!'"
Christian Louboutin is a French footwear designer whose footwear has incorporated shiny, red-lacquered soles that have become his signature. Landscape architect, Louis Benech, has been his partner since 1997. They spend time between their homes in Paris' 1st arrondissement, a fisherman's cottage in Lisbon, a palace in Aleppo, a houseboat on the Nile christened Dahabibi-my love boat, a house in Luxor and a 13th-century castle in the Vendée with his business partner Bruno Chamberlain.
Louboutin claims that his unusual pastimes include trapeze flying, inspired by the film Wings of Desire, and that inspirations come from showgirls and music halls — not fashion (or la mode), which he asserts becomes quickly dated.
He began sketching shoes in his early teens, ignoring his academic studies. Going through a punk phase, he 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.
His little formal training included drawing and the decorative arts at the Académie d'Art Roederer. 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."
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.
Going on to serve as a freelance designer, Louboutin designed women's shoes for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Maud Frizon. In the late 1980s, he turned away from fashion to become a landscape gardener and to contribute to Vogue but missed working with shoes and set up his company in 1991.
With funds from two backers, he opened a Paris shoe salon in 1991 with Princess Caroline of Monaco as his first customer. She complimented the store one day when a fashion journalist was present, and the journalist's subsequent publication of Princess' comments helped greatly to increase Louboutin's renown. Clients such as Diane von Fürstenberg and Catherine Deneuve followed. Later, those interested in his stiletto heels have included Christina Aguilera, Joan Collins, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kim Kardashian. Sarah Jessica Parker wore a pair of shoes by Louboutin for her wedding. Britney Spears wears a pair of high-heeled Louboutins in her music video "If U Seek Amy" that were not available for sale until a month after the video was released.
Louboutin has topped the Luxury Institute's annual Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) for three years; the brand's offerings were declared the Most Prestigious Women's Shoes in 2007, 2008, and 2009. By 2011, Louboutin became the most searched-for shoe brand online.
Louboutin helped bring stilettos back into fashion in the 1990s and 2000s, designing dozens of styles with heel heights of 120mm (4.72 inches) and higher. The designer's professed goal has been to "make a woman look sexy, beautiful, to make her legs look as long as [he] can." While he does offer some lower-heeled styles, Louboutin is generally associated with his dressier evening-wear designs incorporating jeweled straps, bows, feathers, patent leather, red soles and other similar decorative touches. He is most popularly known for his red-bottom high heel shoes, commonly referred to as "sammy red-bottoms." Christian Louboutin's red-bottom colour code is registered as Pantone 18-1663 TPX.
Despite being known for his celebrity clients, he rarely gives shoes away – offering discounts instead to his high-profile fans. This policy also extends to his personal family, because he feels that giving shoes away as gifts is unimaginative.
His single biggest client is Danielle Steel, who is reputed to own over 6,000 pairs and is known to have purchased up 80 pairs at a time when shopping at his stores.
Christian Louboutin by Christian Louboutin
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Rizzoli (October 25, 2011)
Amazon: Christian Louboutin
An extraordinary monograph created by Christian Louboutin, renowned for his beautifully crafted handmade shoes, in particular his elegantly sexy stilettos. This stunning volume, with a fanciful and intricate pop-up, an elaborate foldout cover, and dramatic still-life photography, evokes the artistry and theatricality of Louboutin's shoe designs.
Celebrated for his vertiginously high stilettos with their signature lacquer-red soles, Louboutin has achieved cult status with celebrities as well as fashionistas. His eclectic and exotic designs, often incorporating feathers, beads, and sequins, are a constant and dramatic presence on the red carpet and in nightclubs and restaurants the world over.
Louboutin's first book, this monograph highlights the extraordinary range of his couture, from his iconic and glamorous creations to his fetishistic pieces, including his collaborations with David Lynch, meant more for the bedroom than the street. New photography captures Louboutin's artistic sensibilities, while an in-depth interview reveals Louboutin's life, travels, and inspirations, presenting a very personal look at the man behind the shoes.
A work of art in itself, with a five-piece foldout binding and a pop-up, Christian Louboutin is an enticing and revelatory look at the most important luxury shoe designer of our day.
The book is divided into six chapters. The first chapter covers Louboutin's biography, his start as a designer from his work for Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent to his first boutique in 1992, and his early creations and influences illustrated with many never-seen-before photos from his personal archives; chapter two features the Louboutin boutiques around the world showcasing the varied and extravagant interior designs and displays; chapter three is "20 years of design" and highlights his shoe designs from over the years with all-new still-life photography, as well as editorial art; chapter four features the spectacular interiors of Louboutin's homes in Paris and Luxor, Egypt, and behind-the-scenes shots from his studios and workshops; chapter five focuses on his creative collaborations with David Lynch, of a series called "Fetish," of limited-edition shoes by Louboutin and limited-edition photos by Lynch; chapter six is a complete catalogue raisonne of his work, with photos of all 120 shoe designs.
More Fashion Designers at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art
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