Mention ‘red bottom heels’ to anyone and the moniker for a pair of exquisite Christian Louboutin shoes would be largely understood. Named after the brand’s signature soles, the French luxury house has a tenacious presence in pop culture; spotted on countless celebrities on red carpets and enshrined in hit singles by Ariana Grande, Cardi B and Iggy Azalea.
Unknown to most, however, is that the idea behind the bona fide status symbol came to designer Christian Louboutin unexpectedly. In 1992, Louboutin was contemplating a prototype of a stiletto from one of his sketches. While his assistant polished her nails, Louboutin thought on his feet and grabbed a bottle of nail varnish to paint the underside a luscious red. The result? A recognisable stiletto livened up with shine.
This spontaneous gesture reflects the spirit of Christian Louboutin, where everything evolves through chance and eccentricity. Watching Moulin Rouge as a child sparked Louboutin’s fascination with showgirls, leading to a career-defining apprenticeship at the cabaret Folies Bergères. From there, opportunities to cut his professional teeth with renowned designers came. Eventually, the maison’s first boutique at Galerie Vérot Dodat was born and the rest is history.
Fast-forward to today, Christian Louboutin remains true to the theatrical roots and high-octane glamour that cemented its fame. This is further illustrated by the maison’s beautifully private L’Atelier Sur-Mesure, where custom shoes are made. Discreetly situated within a stone’s throw of the brand’s first store, customers can dream up their perfect Louboutin heel through a precise eight-step system that includes measurement, conceptualisation and mounting. The piece is then worked on by a small team of artisans and can take up to a year to complete.
Fittingly, Louboutin presented its spring/summer 2023 collection through The Loubi Show II at the Gustave Eiffel room. Nestled within the eponymous tower, the space offered a stunning view of the Parisian skyline at sunset. Topping off the glitzy affair was an electrifying mash-up of fashion and entertainment. A bevy of dancers brought the line’s fluorescent footwear to life, moving to French singer Vendredi Sur Mer’s live vocals atop a neon-lit glass bridge.
In addition to choreography, metallic sinuous plinths displayed the brand’s new Loubila chain shoulder bag and shoe styles. With Christian Louboutin’s passion for flowers setting the mood this season, summer-ready options like mules and sandals are adorned with hand-sculpted blooms.
From acid candy hues to soft pastels, the collection offers a colourful smorgasbord of starburst jewels and satin on towering platforms. The best demonstration of the maison’s savoir-faire? The Lipstrass heel. Inspired by the gold case of lipsticks, the pump brings fantasy into reality with its 700 hand-applied crystals and contrasting gold laminato lining.
Christian Louboutin is also setting sights on building a connection between the digital and physical universes of the luxury house. For a start, guests at The Loubi Show II were offered a unique Web3 experience. Complimentary NFTs and a custom-made Proof Of Attendance Protocol were also gifted to viewers of the exclusive online streaming as well as audiences at the Eiffel Tower.
It’s certainly an exciting time at Christian Louboutin as more fashion brands redefine luxury with the latest technology. The maison is also expanding its stores in Singapore, opening a new 175 sqm boutique at Ion Orchard. Inspired by Christian Louboutin’s holiday homes and locations that ring dear to the designer, the space is conceived as romantic and paradisiacal. Expect a cosy yet vibrant shopping space complete with an array of Louboutin’s latest and iconic styles for women and men. From its summery decor to red carpet floors, look forward to an inviting boutique that channels the vibe of a relaxing vacation in Southern Europe.
The Christian Louboutin Store is now open at #01-17 Ion Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801.