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Christian Louboutin Gets Personal

Q&A
Iconic cobbler Christian Louboutin strikes a pose.

By Jessica Michault

Christian Louboutin is an icon in the world of footwear. For more then 20 years, the dapper and charismatic cobbler has been making some of the sexiest, seductive and salacious high heels to ever see the light of day. And he’s recently branched out into the world of beauty with his line of nail polish and lipstick. A move that seems fitting considering that his shoes famous red soles were born when, at the start of his career, the designer painted the original black ones with red nail polish.

We spoke with the shoemaker about where his passion for high heels began, what he feels is his biggest mistake and what advice he would give young designers starting out.

Where did this passion for designing come from?
It started by watching dancers and music hall girls performing in high heels. I noticed how they effected the women: how they moved, how they looked. That is one thing that is so interesting about shoes: they touch a very small part of the body, but transforms the entire body.

What is your design process like?
Building a collection is like building a family. When I am creating it, I really need to concentrate. For that reason I isolate myself and I always go to a place I know. I always design the summer collection in a hot place and the winter collection in a cold place. I am quite influenced by the climate.

You have recently launched a line of nail polish and a collection of make up, what was the thinking behind that move?
I have always been interested in beauty. And there is a real relationship between beauty and shoes. Both enhance the personality of a woman but also the woman is in charge of what she wants to look like. And I like this idea that women are fully responsible for what they want to look like.

What would you say your biggest mistake has been, and how did you learn from it?
I would say it’s when I do something I know I like—I know it’s what I want—and then I listen to other people. When the heart of your work is creative, you should not alter your design because of what other people say about it. Every time I have followed the advice of others over what I wanted it didn’t work out.

What advice would you give a young designer starting out in your field?
Well first of all, everyone should follow their own path. You need to be true to your own identity and really know who you are and what you want to say. Doing this will make the product more interesting to people when it comes from a personal place.

 

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