Christian Louboutin
Overview
Christian Louboutin (b. 7 January 1964, Paris, France) is a French footwear designer whose father is cabinetmaker Roger Louboutin and homemaker mother Irene. His siblings include three sisters, no brothers. Landscape architect Louis Benech has been his partner since 1997. Louboutin launched his line of high-end women's shoes in France in 1991. Since 1992, the footwear has incorporated shiny, red-lacquered soles that have become his signature.
Although Louboutin faced much opposition following his decision to leave school early, he claims that his resolve was strengthened after watching an interview on TV with Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren, OMRI is an Italian actress.In 1962, Loren won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Two Women, along with 21 awards, becoming the first actress to win an Academy Award for a non-English-speaking performance...

 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.
Encyclopedia
Christian Louboutin (b. 7 January 1964, Paris, France) is a French footwear designer whose father is cabinetmaker Roger Louboutin and homemaker mother Irene. His siblings include three sisters, no brothers. Landscape architect Louis Benech has been his partner since 1997. Louboutin launched his line of high-end women's shoes in France in 1991. Since 1992, the footwear has incorporated shiny, red-lacquered soles that have become his signature.

Biography

Although Louboutin faced much opposition following his decision to leave school early, he claims that his resolve was strengthened after watching an interview on TV with Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren, OMRI is an Italian actress.In 1962, Loren won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Two Women, along with 21 awards, becoming the first actress to win an Academy Award for a non-English-speaking performance...

 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. "Everybody applauded! And I thought, 'Well, at least if I regret it I'm going to be like the sister of Sophia Loren!'"

He began sketching shoes in his early teens, ignoring his academic studies. In fact, he was expelled from four schools. Going through a punk} phase, he was in a few films, including 1979 cult classic Race d'ep. Under the title The Homosexual Century, the film attracted an English-language audience.

His little formal training included drawing and the decorative arts at the Académie d'Art Roederer. 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
Charles Jourdan
Charles Jourdan was a French fashion designer known best for his designs of women's shoes starting in 1919. His name reached its greatest notoriety in the years since his death under the leadership of his sons, first with an emphasis on the use of innovative materials and later for more...

. Subsequently, Louboutin met Roger Vivier
Roger Vivier
Roger Vivier was a French fashion designer who specialized in shoes. His best known creation was the Stiletto heel.Vivier has been called the "Fragonard of the shoe" and his shoes "the Fabergé of Footwear" by numbers of critics. He designed extravagant richly-decorated shoes that he described as...

. (Claims about Vivier is that he invented the stiletto [or spike]-heel shoe.) Louboutin thus became an apprentice in Vivier's atelier.

Going on to serve as a freelance designer, Louboutin designed women's shoes for Chanel
Chanel
Chanel S.A. is a French fashion house founded by the couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, well established in haute couture, specializing in luxury goods . She gained the name "Coco" while maintaining a career as a singer at a café in France...

, Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent may refer to:* Yves Saint Laurent , French fashion designer* Yves Saint Laurent , a luxury fashion house founded by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé...

, and Maude Frizon.

With funds from two backers, he opened a Paris shoe salon in 1991 with Princess Caroline of Monaco as his first customer. Her compliments in the store one day when a fashion journalist was present. The journalist subsequently published the Princess's comment helped greatly to increase Louboutin's renown. Clients such as Diane Von Furstenburg and Catherine Deneuve
Catherine Deneuve
Catherine Deneuve is a French actress. She gained recognition for her portrayal of aloof and mysterious beauties in films such as Repulsion and Belle de jour . Deneuve was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1993 for her performance in Indochine; she also won César Awards for that...

 followed. Later ones interested in his stiletto heels have included Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lynn Lopez is an American actress, singer, record producer, dancer, television personality, and fashion designer. Lopez began her career as a dancer on the television comedy program In Living Color. Subsequently venturing into acting, she gained recognition in the 1995 action-thriller...

, Madonna
Madonna (entertainer)
Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983...

, and Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Kate Paltrow is an American actress and singer. She made her acting debut on stage in 1990 and started appearing in films in 1991. After appearing in several films throughout the decade, Paltrow gained early notice for her work in films such as Se7en and Emma...

. Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker is an American film, television, and theater actress and producer.She is best known for her leading role as Carrie Bradshaw on the HBO television series Sex and the City , for which she won four Golden Globe Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and two Emmy Awards...

 wore a pair of shoes by Louboutin for her wedding.

Louboutin and his partner Benech spend time in their Luxor, Egypt, vacation home, which has been featured in Vogue
Vogue (magazine)
Vogue is a fashion and lifestyle magazine that is published monthly in 18 national and one regional edition by Condé Nast.-History:In 1892 Arthur Turnure founded Vogue as a weekly publication in the United States. When he died in 1909, Condé Montrose Nast picked up the magazine and slowly began...

and Harper's Bazaar
Harper's Bazaar
Harper’s Bazaar is an American fashion magazine, first published in 1867. Harper’s Bazaar is published by Hearst and, as a magazine, considers itself to be the style resource for “women who are the first to buy the best, from casual to couture.”...

magazines. 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.

Shoes

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 is 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 and other similar decorative touches. In 2011, Christian Louboutin filed a trademark infringement of their red soled shoes against designer Yves Saint Laurent. Louboutin is expecting for the YSL shoe to be revoked and is seeking US $1 million in damages.
In August, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero denied Louboutin's request to stop the sale of women's shoes with red soles by Yves Saint Laurent. The judge questioned the validity of the trademark, saying, "Louboutin's claim would cast a red cloud over the whole industry, cramping what other designers do, while allowing Louboutin to paint with a full palette."
Judge Marrero also wrote, "Louboutin is unlikely to be able to prove its red outsole brand is entitled to trademark protection, even if it has gained enough public recognition in the market to have acquired secondary meaning."
Jewelry company Tiffany & Co., who has a their blue box trademarked, filed a "amicus curiae" brief focusing on trademarking a color. Fashion journal WWD reported that Tiffany's brief supports Louboutin's appeal to reverse the decision made by Judge Marrero.

Louboutin claims his fascination with shoes began in 1976 when he visited the Musée national des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie
Musée national des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie
The Musée national des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie was a museum formerly located in the Palais de la Porte Dorée on the edge of the Bois de Vincennes at 293, avenue Daumesnil in the XIIe arrondissement, Paris, France....

 on the Avenue Daumesnil in Paris. It was there that he saw a sign from Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 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."

Louboutin has topped The Luxury Institute
The Luxury Institute
The Luxury Institute is a New York based ratings and research organization that conducts research on the luxury industry. The company offers luxury brand research, wealth-surveys of high net worth consumers, and custom consulting and speaking engagements. It also publishes nine annual issues of...

'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.

Stores

There are four Christian Louboutin boutiques in Paris, two on the Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Christian Louboutin and Christian Louboutin Boutique Homme), one on the Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré and one on the Rue de Grenelle.

There are eight boutiques in the United States, two in New York (Madison Avenue and Horatio Street), two in California (Beverly Hills on Burton Way and in Orange County at South Coast Plaza), two in Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

, one in the Design District in Miami and one in Highland Park Village
Highland Park Village
Highland Park Village is an upscale shopping mall located at the southwest corner of Mockingbird Lane and Preston Road in Highland Park, Texas and was the first self-contained shopping center in America. The Highland Park Village was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2000.-History:Mr....

 in Dallas. The Miami location was, like many Louboutin stores, designed by Eric Clough of New York architects 212box, has walls covered with thousands of ceramic tiles that display alphabet letters from 28 languages and hundreds of symbols. The arrangement contains messages in plain text and code, poems and riddles, hiding in plain sight amid the jumble of text and symbol. These coded tiles appear in many Louboutin stores designed by Clough around the world, including Sao Paolo Brazil.

In Canada, Christian Louboutin is available from Holt Renfrew
Holt Renfrew
Holt Renfrew is a chain of high-end Canadian department stores. It is comparable to Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue in the United States, and to two other upmarket chains owned by the same family, Britain's Selfridges and Ireland's Brown Thomas...

.

There are two in London, England. The original is in Motcomb Street. An additional store opened in Mount Street in 2008. There are Christian Louboutin concessions at Harvey Nichols
Harvey Nichols
Harvey Nichols, founded in 1813, is an upmarket department store chain. Its original store is in London. Founded in 1813 as a linen shop, it sells many international brands of clothing for women and men, fashion accessories, beauty products, wine and food...

, Harrods
Harrods
Harrods is an upmarket department store located in Brompton Road in Brompton, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. The Harrods brand also applies to other enterprises undertaken by the Harrods group of companies including Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Aviation and Air...

 and Selfridges
Selfridges
Selfridges, AKA Selfridges & Co, is a chain of high end department stores in the United Kingdom. It was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The flagship store in London's Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK and was opened on 15 March 1909.More recently, three other stores have been...

. A new boutique is soon to open in Dublin, Ireland.

There are three Christian Louboutin boutiques in Moscow, located on Malaya Bronnaya street (the original), Petrovka street and on Stoleshinkov sidestreet.

In Asia, the first Christian Louboutin boutique was opened in October 2007 on On Lan Street in Central, Hong Kong. Other boutiques in Asia are located in Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

's Ngee Ann City mall as well as in Japan, Jakarta
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

, Indonesia and Beirut, Lebanon.

In Australia, you can find his shoes sold in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth in David Jones stores. The first Christian Louboutin store in Australia is in Sydney's Westfield Sydney.

Christian Louboutin has two stores in Dubai , one in Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

and one in Ho Chi Minh City.

Periodicals

  • Footwear News, June 1, 1992, p. S8; December 9, 2002, p. 50
  • Harper's Bazaar, December 1999, p. 104; April 2001, p. 226
  • Newsweek International, February 24, 2003, p. 48
  • People, February 10, 2003, pp. 87–88
  • Vogue, June 2004, p. 206

External links



Gallery

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