There is a certain allure when a flash of red appears from beneath a shoe, an allure that is a combination of many things. That flash of red is a symbol, a symbol of sexiness, a symbol of beautiful design, a symbol of status and passion. Christian Louboutin is the man behind that symbol and the man behind one of the most successful designer shoe brands in the world. Women all over the world lust over Louboutin’s wonderful crafted shoes that are finished with a lushious hand painted red sole. The red sole is iconic of the brand and is something so simple yet instantly recognisable. That simplicity along with Christian’s ability to instil the essence of femininity into a shoe, has helped create one of the most desirable shoe brands in fashion.
But who is Christian Louboutin and what’s the story behind the red sole?
When Christian was a child he would sneak out of school to watch the showgirls at the Paris nightclubs. His fascination with the dancer’s costumes inspired him to design shoes, he believes that women look at their legs in silhouette, a realisation he had while watching the dancers. It was this inspiration as a young child that led him to drop out of school early to pursue his dream of designing shoes.
His obsession with shoe design was galvanised during a visit to a Paris visit near his home, the Musee des Arts Africains et Oceaniens. The collections in the museum were housed in a building that featured mosaic and parquet floors. Christian was confronted with a pictograph sign that barred visitors from wearing spike-heel shoes , which at time, were a fashion relic from the 1950s, as they could damage the floor. He was fascinated by the pictograph as he had never seen that type of shoe in the 70s.
Louboutin had some formal training at the Academie Roederer studying drawing and decorative arts. After travelling for a year he came back to Paris in 1981 and assembled a design portfolio full of elaborate high heels to present to some of Paris’s top couture houses.