Christian Louboutin : biography
Christian Louboutin (pronounced ; b. 7 January 1963) is a French footwear designer whose footwear has incorporated shiny, red-lacquered soles that have become his signature.Encyclopedia of World Biography
- Footwear News, 1 June 1992, p. S8; 9 December 2002, p. 50
- Harper’s Bazaar, December 1999, p. 104; April 2001, p. 226
- Newsweek International, 24 February 2003, p. 48
- People, 10 February 2003, pp. 87–88
- Vogue, June 2004, p. 206
Louboutin helped bring stilettos back into fashion in the 1990s and 2000s, designing dozens of styles with heel heights of 120mm (4.72 inches) and higher. The designer’s professed goal has been to "make a woman look sexy, beautiful, to make her legs look as long as [he] can." While he does offer some lower-heeled styles, Louboutin is generally associated with his dressier evening-wear designs incorporating jeweled straps, bows, feathers, patent leather, red soles and other similar decorative touches. He is most popularly known for his red-bottom high heel shoes, commonly referred to as "sammy red-bottoms." Christian Louboutin’s red-bottom colour code is registered as Pantone 18-1663 TPX.
Despite being known for his celebrity clients, he rarely gives shoes away – offering discounts instead to his high-profile fans. This policy also extends to his personal family, because he feels that giving shoes away as gifts is unimaginative.
His single biggest client is Danielle Steel, who is reputed to own over 6,000 pairs and is known to have purchased up 80 pairs at a time when shopping at his stores.
Personal life and ethnic background
Louboutin was born and raised in Paris’s 12th arrondissement. He was the only son of Roger, an ébeniste (cabinet-maker), and Irene, a homemaker, his parents are European French and he has three sisters. Louboutin said in a 2012 interview that he was "much darker-skinned than everyone else in his family. You know, I felt I wasn’t French. My family was very French and so I decided they had probably adopted me. But instead of feeling it was terrible and that I was an outsider who had to go and find my real family, I invented my own history, full of characters from Egypt because I was very into the pharaohs." In the same interview he also recounted an incident where his dark European looks were the focus of racial hatred. One day he was out with a friend "in leopard, with high heels who was half-Spanish, half-Vietnamese". Louboutin, needed to use a restaurant toilet. "The staff went crazy! One guy grabbed my friend by her hair and started calling her a "little bitch". I took my fist to him, and he screamed, ‘Don’t you dare touch a white guy or I’ll crush your nose even more flat than it is’. I wasn’t in a black or mixed race family, so I had no experience of racism. But still, I was different…For a few days, I wanted to go back there and kill them," he admitted. "I was full of anger."
Louboutin was expelled from school three times and ran away from home at the age of 12, at which point his indulgent mother allowed him to move out to live at a friend’s house. Louboutin faced much opposition when he decided to drop out from school. However, he claims that what helped him make up his mind was an interview on TV with Sophia Loren, in which she introduced her sister, saying she had to leave school when she was only 12, but when she turned 50, she got her degree. He later remarked, "Everybody applauded! And I thought, ‘Well, at least if I regret it I’m going to be like the sister of Sophia Loren!’"
Landscape architect, Louis Benech, has been his partner since 1997. Louboutin and his partner spend time between their homes in Paris’s 1st arrondissement, a fisherman’s cottage in Lisbon, a palace in Aleppo, a houseboat on the Nile christened Dahabibi-my love boat, and a house in Luxor. The Luxor domicile is a former craftsman’s workshop, made of earthen bricks, to which he has added an additional floor and a rooftop belvedere. Additionally, he also shares a 13th-century castle in the Vendée with his business partner Bruno Chamberlain.