Christian Louboutin : biography
The 2,400-square-foot space was designed by Eric Clough and 212box. Above a steel awning shaped like a Louboutin shoe in profile, with a red underside to boot, pink orchids sprout from the coral-stone facade. Still more orchids project from a wall in the entry gallery. Pantyhose have been recycled by Dutch artist Madeleine Berkhemer into a multi-colored sculpture that stretches over the empty concrete floor with some of Louboutin’s signature shoes dangling in the overhead tangle of nylon "like insects trapped in a psychedelic spider’s web." This L-shape space wraps two sides of a rectangular volume clad almost entirely in one-way mirror: a box that contains the merchandise for sale while allowing people who’ve just come in the front door to "witness other people falling in love with the shoes," Clough says.
The inside areas in the store are defined by lush red carpeting. Blue, blown-glass chandeliers hang from the ceilings. Hieroglyphics, symbols and Braille are carved onto wooden Codebox Tiles that line some of the store’s interior walls. hiding the words of a poem by contemporary American poet Lyn Hejinian in plain sight, in the etched wooden tiles lining the gallery wall behind the orchids. "This is the way I / Want to go in and / Out of heaven… / Windows full at 5pm / My skull a place / Except that I think of space as the more exciting," the lines read. These coded tiles appear in many Louboutin stores designed by Clough around the world, including São Paulo, Brazil.
Brand Extensions and Projects
Louboutin has said over the past decade, he has been offered licensing deals on everything from cars and glasses to swimwear and ready-to-wear, but has turned them down as he does not want his name to be one that can be licensed. In 2003, his first extension outside of shoes was the introduction of his handbags and purses line.
In 2011, he launched a collection of men’s footwear at a new exclusive store in Paris. Two explanations were given why Louboutin started a men’s line. The first was a story of a French woman who asked him to make her a pair of shoes for her very large feet. He custom-created the size 13 1/2 shoes for her, but she didn’t end up buying them. Instead, he passed them along to a friend who gave them to her husband. The second story was that the idea of starting a men’s line came from musician Mika, who asked Louboutin to design all the shoes for his show for his tour. He also noticed that "There is a group of men that is thinking a little bit more like women. They’re super-excited to buy the "new thing." I’ve noticed on blogs, for example, that men are very serious about their shoes now. They treat shoes very much as objects, as collectors’ items. Of course, there is still a group that is more conservative in their tastes. They like to pass their shoes down to their son or say they have had a pair for 25 years". A unique feature introduced was the Tattoo Parlor, where customers could have digital photos taken of their ink and embroidered onto their shoes or, embroider the signature brogues in addition to selecting designs by Christian Louboutin with prices starting at around $8,000.
In 2007, he collaborated with the film-maker David Lynch on Fetish, an exhibition of his shoes in Lynch’s photographs as erotic sculptural objects including ballet pumps made vertical by an impossible heel, or shoes with heels projecting inches beyond the sole (Viennese heel). He partnered once again with Lynch and Swizz Beats to compose music when Louboutin directed a show at Crazy Horse, called Feu, which ran from March 5 to May 31, 2012.
In 2012, Louboutin partnered with Batallure Beauty LLC to launch Christian Louboutin Beauté to enter the luxury beauty market. It is expected to hit shelves in late 2013.
At the 2012 Grey Goose Winter Ball, he designed his dream cocktail bar to benefit the Elton John foundation. Dubbed the Crazy Luxor bar, the sculptural piece is shaped like a stiletto and is finished in a high-shine black lacquer with, it stands to reason, a red trim to echo the designer’s signature red sole (always worked in Pantone’s 186c, fact fans). The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics on the facade of the bar are in honour of his love of Egypt. The bar was later auctioned at the Architecture of Taste-themed ball on 29 October 2012 in Battersea Park, London.