Continuing on from the day I met Christian Louboutin….
I couldn’t have crammed anymore information in the previous ‘Chouquette meets Sir Christian Louboutin‘ so here are a few ‘did you know‘ lines from what I learnt from the man himself, along with a few more snaps.
The interview started off with the question:
What was your first shoe memory?
CL told us he has memories as far back as “ 9, 8, 6,7 well before 12!” CL would sneak himself in the threatre near his parents’ house in Paris and be mesmerised by the show girls. He knew from then on he wanted to design shoes. Due to the fact he had to sneak into the theatre during the intermission, he only ever saw the second half of the shows. His inspiration came from show girls and the theatre.
CL’s mother would keep all of his shoe sketches and has one from the age of 13, by which CL had designed the famous Pigalle!
“To me show girls were like birds of paradise in shoes. This is why I wanted to design for them.”
“The first thing you should see is the woman. A shoe should have the ability to blend into her silhouette”
CL’s advice on how to make it into the fashion industry:
“You need to believe in yourself and what you do. Be tenacious and genuine.”
Did you know?
1.CL first worked for a year at the Christian Dior house in Paris. He got the job by taking the yellow pages and calling all the fashion houses. He called Dior and asked to speak to the director. She answered the phone and invited CL to work for her there and then! He worked at Dior for a year. He realised this was a dream fashion job knew but it wasn’t what he wanted. He wanted to work for himself. After a year CL suddenly thought “is this what I want? I shouldn’t carry on working in fashion just to live out my childhood dreams.” CL then rented a Vespa for six months and travelled around Greece.
On CL’s return he thought he would become a landscape gardener. We nearly missed out on Louboutin to gardening!! It was only by chance he came across the shoe industry again.
One day CL came across a lamp he adored in an exhibition in Paris. The owner would not sell the lamp, CL kept on persisting every day to buy this lamp. In the end to divert the attention away from the lamp, the man said to CL “why don’t you set up a shop, there is a shop for rent at the back of the exhibition?” So CL walked away to meet his best friend Henry and from then on they set up the first CL boutique in Paris. CL says this is proof friends can work together.
2. CL gathers all his inspirations from “things” and superposes with shoes in his mind.
3. He is a curves man and he doesn’t like straight angles. Even when he draws his flat shoes they have an arch and a curve.
4. The red soles were discovered in 1992. CL was in his studio with a friend. One of his designs (see image below) had been made and CL saw it for the first time. He was very happy but there was something missing. There was no “black” in his sketch and the black sole in reality was ruining his shoe. His friend was painting her nails and that was how the idea was discovered, “it was a revelation.”
5. CL chose the colour red because “red has a positive meaning“. It was also during a time in Paris when women were only wearing black. However even a woman that doesn’t wear colour will always wear red lipstick and red nails.
6.When CL designs his summer collection he needs to be somewhere hot and when he designs the winter collection he needs to be somewhere cold. “I draw all the time, when I design the new collection I need to isolate myself from everything.”
7. The most important aspect of the shoe, is the arch.
8. CL’s favourite shoe size is size 37.
9. There is no celebrity that he would like to see wear his shoes. He likes to be surprised. He appreciates women that style his shoes with something he would never have thought of. “I like to see people who are survivors wearing my shoes. I am fascinated by people who can bounce back.”
10. CL still works as hard as he did when he started “after 20 years I still work as hard as when I started. We still have fun. As a designer you have to be happy.”
The interview was so inspiring for me. I can’t wait to meet him again. I will be more prepared and take all my shoes for him to sign!
Professional photo from the Design museum Facebook page:
To view the images on The Design Museum Facebook page click here.