The word ‘Louboutin’ exceeds elegance. One million of these iconic red-soled shoes are sold across the world every year. The first time I came across someone wearing Louboutin heels was in a hotel, this beautiful woman stood in front of me and I was completely enamoured by her whole persona – the luxury shoes were the red cherry on top. When someone wears shoes with a red sole, you immediately stop and notice, like you are in a trance. You just cannot look away. The pure power this iconic piece of footwear has is remarkable and no other brand has ever been able to capture the same impact. Since I have been crushing on these shoes for as long as I can remember, it felt only fitting to share this love and preach the genius that is Christian Louboutin.
The French-born designer began his brand in the 1990s, which is notably fairly modern for a luxury brand. Perhaps this modernity is what drove Louboutin to the epiphany that he needed a distinct brand feature in order to compete with the bigger luxury brands, such as Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and Gucci, which dominated the markets and the consumers. In 1993, Louboutin’s assistant was painting her nails red at her desk (clearly working very hard) when all of a sudden Louboutin took the bottle and painted the sole of one of his shoes this colour. The flirtatious element of this look inspired him to make it the colour of the season – the customers asked him to make it the colour of every season.
Louboutin’s iconic status would not be what it is today if it weren’t for the part of celebrities. Madonna wore powerfully high-heeled Louboutin boots in her music video ‘Celebration’. The choice of shoes in this particular music video is iconic because everything else is monochromatic: the boots are black, the gloves are black, the sunglasses are black, the crystal dress is silver and black. Everything is seemingly simple, until she flicks her legs up and you see a quick flash of red on the bottom of her sole. It’s eye-catching. It’s iconic. It’s Louboutin.
Similarly, the highest-grossing U.S. tour of all time – Reputation – heavily featured these shoes. Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ album was all about making a comeback. This album was powerful, unexpected, angry at times, yet also flirtatious. It seems only fitting that Taylor wanted to capture these elements in the entire production, including her on-stage outfits for the tour. She wore custom-made Louboutin boots: one was a chunky heel lace-up with shiny scale pattern; the other boot was thigh-high with gold details. Needless to say, she nailed the whole look.
Women’s footwear marked the beginning of Louboutin’s brand, but since then he has expanded to becoming a real dominant force in the luxury fashion world. In 2003 he launched handbags and in 2011 he began designing shoes for men – still maintaining the distinct red-sole. He also has expanded into the beauty market, with his debut nail varnish range. His nail varnish is currently the most expensive varnish on the luxury market. The powerfully fierce aura of the shoes is equally captured in the nail varnish, as the wand itself is 8-inches long – the same length as the heel of the Louboutin Ballerina Ultima shoe. The cap design was inspired by calligraphy pens, because the designer wanted you to feel like an artist as you paint your manicure – much as he was an artist when he used nail varnish to design his now timeless shoes.
Since Louboutin has created this unique design, he has worked hard to keep it. Yves Saint Laurent used red outer soles on some of his shoes and Louboutin took the brand to court for it because Louboutin has trademarked the red sole. And who can blame him? When someone walks in and you see that flash of red, you instantly know they are wearing the luxury brand which has now become timelessly powerful, confident, and flirty. Only Louboutin’s unique vision could so simply yet complexly achieve this.