Men shiver when hearing his name, Women gasp when admiring his creations. He is the Agatha Christie for Shoes. A master of shoe style. A casualness killer. Thanks to his single pair of high hells. Christian Louboutin shines forth from Paris to New York but the French creator keeps so secretive. Farida Khelfa tried to unveil the stylist man.
It keeps click-clacking in the dark of the Gallery Véro Dodat spreading the atmosphere of a Black and White Hitchcock thriller movie. Which footsteps sound like an alarm clock? A gazelle? Not just a woman rushing towards her gorgeous dreams. A clue might be pointed out by the shinny Crimson colour.
Down this corridor, the Louboutin vintage store seems to be sprouted from nowhere. Well, nowhere in the 1st arrondissement of Paris and surrounded by a long queue of paparazzis. Tourists gather in front of the window with sparkling shoes but scared of the Men in Black security. To put a private eye into this craft industry, Farida Khelfa, ex-super Gaultier model, followed the amazing creator for a documentary on French-German channel Arte. « Louboutin » is not a economic report of a worldwide brand but a very personal portrait of the designer who stirred up women style.
The disruption started not in fashion but in a museum. The new Parisian history museum of immigration was an open door for creativity. The antique shoe on the frescos was a first step of a strange track for Christian Louboutin. An inquiry that drove him into shady backstage of Foire du Trône where he found this dream drawing in the foot of a streetwalker. But this wasn’t the most astonishing scoop about the shoemaker’s career.
Because from scratch, the footwear specialist was known as … a landscape gardener keeping in his mind all his amazing drafts. No wonder if his first collection was so mature with the inseparable love shoes, so unique that the picture turned into the first picture and the first international PR for the brand. Luck or gift? According to most Parisian model Inès de la Fressange, currently ambassador for Roger Vivier, this trivial elegant world was quite impressive.
To keep his track on the law of the fashion jungle, the creator is still working on or off duty and his dreams take form at the studio. A perfect place for the pretty crime where his squad keep working spangles in his hands and folding crocodile skin like Japanese origami. Less glamourous than Fashion Week but as important, this team is mandatory for tailor-made tasks and especially weeding days. Among these 800 thousand pairs, shoes trimmed by nails, Turner boots, high heels inspired by Crystal building roof or 24-hours Parisian life court shoes drew the lines of the Louboutin story.
Because it was on stage that the creator dreamt that his creations had been made to move. His wish became true when the Crazy Horse made a performance with his shoes. The man who loves staring at high heels still waves on the burlesque humouristic style perfect for cabaret. No doubt that this touch brought Arielle Dombasle, diva and the philosopher’s wife, Valerie Lemercier, experimental actress or Kristin Scott Thomas, famous performer in the English Patient, Blake Lively or Alicia Keys to collect them.
Mika, Libanese singer/ French coach of The Voice, great admirer of Louboutin, asked him to build the first men collection but Christian Louboutin confessed: « there is no excitement into a men shoe but women shoes can change everything especially shape. Men regard shoe only as an object. » That might be because of this fetishism that the high heels creator asked the fantasy maker, David Lynch to picture, for the Carter Foundation some of his shoes. Well not any one of them, the Fetish shoes were not made to be worn but to be pictured in empty rooms. The invisible soles triggered so many desires of sensuality. Some fantasy, after all, the Nude Olympia by Manet wears shoes.
Speaking of soles, Christian Louboutin writes his name with dark Red. A colourful fingerprint visible in his shoes soles. A bloody detail which appeared in the early years when the creator faced his shoe in real life not as perfect as expected. The black sole was a dreary disillusionment for the designer who ended up using by a twist his assistant’s red nail vanish. He was caught red-handed but this anecdote illustrates the cunning marketing of the brand.
To go down in legend many women look upon the new Louboutin shinny nail vanish dreaming of feathers, sequins and become goddesses … of style!