Harper's Bazaar (Singapore)

In his own words, Christian Louboutin tells his Bhutan tale.

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When did you first want to go o to Bhutan?

Bhutan is one of those places I’ve always wanted to visit, like Yemen, Easter Island, the Galápagos Islands… During a trip to India when I was 15, I decided to go (to Bhutan). But in the end, I had to give it up because of visa issues. That was almost 40 years ago, the country was still very difficult for tourists to access and the visa was ve very expensive… I dream of my trave travels and I prepare them in m my head. I only become aware o of the quality of what I’ve experience­d when the trip is over. So, my story with Bhutan is never-ending because I know I will come back to it.

What attracted you to this country?

For me, there are two real pleasures in travelling: That of going to a place you know and love, and that of going to a country you have never been to. I have always thought of Bhutan as an extraordin­ary country, straight out of a fairy tale. It’s also impressive because it’s a civilised country located at the heart of a very powerf powerful landscape, the Himalayas.

When did you first go there?

For more than 25 years, the idea of going to Bhutan stayed with me. But it was only in 2012 that I went there for the first time with my friend Diane von Fürstenber­g. We were both in India and wanted to discover something new—she had never been there and neither had I.

What image did you have of Bhutan before you discovered the country?

I had this image of a small, peaceful country. It’s a kingdom hidden at the heart of the Himalayas, open and inaccessib­le at the same time.

What is the first thing you remember about Bhutan?

My first memory of Bhutan is of hearing music whilst I was still on the plane. I remember the landing in Paro, in a very narrow valley, surrounded by mountains. It’s a beautiful place. The valley appeared suddenly and the plane had to nosedive to land. It reminded me of a roller coaster at the Foire du Trône funfair, which I’ve always loved. So my first impression was that of a thrilling landing.

What does Bhutan mean to you?

It embodies values that, at first, seem quite contradict­ory but are what make it so beautiful. For example, the students in Bhutan all dress in traditiona­l costume. People often think that tradition is a little outdated, but that’s not the case there. It’s a very relaxing country in my opinion and it’s important that traditiona­l Bhutanese values do not hinder the modernity of the country. Bhutan maintains a gentle pace, but also a way of thinking in the long term, something that is essential for me. It’s a country steeped in values that are far ahead of their time.

What emotional connection do you share with this country?

I have a very strong link with Bhutan. It’s in my nature to go back to the places I have visited or rewatch films I love. When you watch a film again, you never see it the same way. I go off the same principle when I travel. I like to revisit places to deepen my knowledge and discover what I may have missed the first time. I’d wanted to visit this country for a very long time and I became attached to it. Furthermor­e, I believe that when you love a country, you also love its people. The emotional bond I have with this country is also a bond of friendship with the Bhutanese and I have very dear friends there. ■

 ??  ?? Christian Louboutin’s cultural musings have resulted in a 13-piece collection replete with artisanal touches
ELISA BAG
In the same spirit of Christian Louboutin being the culture fiend, he creates the Elisa bag that mixes French elegance with Italian craftsmans­hip and inspired by Elisa Sednaoui, a French actress with Egyptian heritage
Christian Louboutin’s cultural musings have resulted in a 13-piece collection replete with artisanal touches ELISA BAG In the same spirit of Christian Louboutin being the culture fiend, he creates the Elisa bag that mixes French elegance with Italian craftsmans­hip and inspired by Elisa Sednaoui, a French actress with Egyptian heritage
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