Soleful SHOES

Harper's Bazaar (India) - - BAZAAR -

Chris­tian Louboutin speaks to Bazaar on his en­try into In­dia, his 20TH AN­NIVER­SARY,

and what keeps him go­ing

“FOR SOME­ONE LIKE ME, WHO HAS AL­WAYS LOVED DRESSY, EVENING SHOES, THIS PUMP IS STILL THE MOST PER­FECT BE­CAUSE OF ITS SIM­PLIC­ITY AND THE WAY IT AL­MOST DIS­AP­PEARS ON THE FOOT,”

He ran away in his teens to travel the world, spend­ing con­sid­er­able time back­pack­ing in In­dia (in Chen­nai, his friend Jean-françois Lesage still em­broi­ders ex­quis­ite shoe up­pers for Louboutin). And Princess Caro­line of Monaco was his first client. His red soles unite fash­ion­able women across the globe in a sin­gle, chic tribe. And as Chris­tian Louboutin com­pletes 20 years in fash­ion, there’s no deny­ing that as such, he sits to­day atop the pin­na­cle of his busi­ness.

But the some­times-cheeky-some­times-shy shoe­maker takes it in his stride. Even though his is a house­hold name (even in houses where a sin­gle red sole is yet to make an en­trance), and his shoes are ref­er­enced in pop­u­lar cul­ture— movies, songs, you name it—he doesn’t like talk­ing about it too much. His fan fol­low­ing en­com­passes both the haute and the hoi pol­loi. But ask­ing him about this is like hit­ting a wall. He won’t di­vulge the name of the client who or­dered a shoe with a sole paved with ru­bies. But what he will dis­cuss is his re­turn to the root of his many in­spi­ra­tions: In­dia. With the open­ing of his first store in New Delhi’s DLF Em­po­rio, Louboutin is “happy to have found a space in a coun­try I love so much”.

In New Delhi, April will see his an­niver­sary Cap­sule Col­lec­tion de­but for his In­dian fans at the DLF Em­po­rio store. “I have been search­ing for a space to sell at in In­dia for the long­est time,” he says. “And lately, I have re­alised that a lot of In­dian women are buy­ing my shoes. The time seemed right, and here I am!” The last time he came to In­dia was in De­cem­ber 2011; he says that he loves the colours he sees here. The other thing he loves is cabaret (one of his ini­tial in­spi­ra­tions). As part of his on­go­ing 20-year cel­e­bra­tions, The Crazy Horse, Paris’s iconic cabaret club, will tie up with Louboutin on a show mark­ing their 60 years this month.

How­ever, it’s not only his global mo­tifs and ver­tig­i­nous heels that have made him fa­mous. If, on one side, he seems be­sot­ted with the crafts of In­dia (seen in his Bollywood and De­v­i­das pumps), his ob­ses­sion with French per­fec­tion and el­e­gance forms the other side of the coin. To him, a per­fect shoe is one that may not have the most ‘wow fac­tor’, but one that makes the woman feel ‘wow’. “For ex­am­ple, take the Pi­galle pump in nude (see left). For some­one like me, who has al­ways loved dressy, evening shoes, this pump is still the most per­fect be­cause of its sim­plic­ity and the way it al­most dis­ap­pears on the foot,” he says. And this is the per­fec­tion that his clients value above all else. It’s not loud, but it’s there. And it’s been there for 20 years.

From top: Sketches of Chris­tian Louboutin 20 Year Cap­sule Col­lec­tion. Above: The Pi­galle pump in nude leather. Be­low: a graf­fiti-in­spired bootie. All prices upon re­quest.

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