The fact that Christian Louboutin began his career at the age of 16 designing shoes for the Folies-Bergere should tell you a lot about the sensibilities of this red-hot shoe designer. The fact that his hero is fellow Parisian Roger Vivier, whose sculptural high heels have graced the feet of everyone from Josephine Baker to Catherine Deneuve, should tell you everything else.

The Follies account for Louboutin’s sense of showmanship, whether it’s a gold-plated leather and leopard-print sandal or a thigh-high deerskin boot. As for Vivier, he was a master not just of shape but of texture, too, which may help explain why Louboutin enjoys working with materials as varied as python and Lucite.

But for all these influences, Louboutin’s high heels, mules, boots, and sandals are uniquely his own, the most obvious example being his practice of painting the soles of his shoes nail-polish red, no matter what the upper looks like. Indeed, this single device almost sums up the Louboutin aesthetic—brash, surprising, and undeniably eye catching.

After his introduction to fashion from a costumer’s perspective, Louboutin worked for Charles Jourdan and Yves Saint Laurent. He opened his own boutique in Paris in 1991 and today has shops in major cities around the world.

A good pair of Louboutins often makes Manolo Blahnik’s creations look like sensible Oxfords. Sure he does ballet flats, but Louboutin’s are dyed in purple, red, or yellow, after which they are covered with spikes. When Louboutin conjures a “safari shoe,” he sees a stiletto skinned in snake.

Want a Louboutin Mary Jane? Be prepared for a pump in multi-hued canvas with a 5-inch heel and an open toe. And his short boots are secured to the foot with all manner of straps that variously resemble bondage devices or slender seat belts.

Louboutin shoes excel at unusual combinations of materials, such as fishnet paired with patent leather. Like nature, Louboutin abhors a vacuum, which may explain why a pair of pu...

Heels, too, get the Louboutin treatment. Chunky ones are carved and painted gold, curved ones are meant to mirror the lines of a woman’s body. Up front, below the toes and ball of the foot, Louboutin frequently hides modest, flat platforms, making his 5-inch heels a bit more manageable. Even the lowly espadrille gets a Louboutin makeover—his versions feature uppers of lilac ribbon, tanned leather, or floral prints, with ropey platform wedges below.

Naturally people who make their living based on the impression they create are drawn to Louboutin shoes. J-Lo, who has a self-professed weakness for his heels, recorded a hit single called “Louboutins” that describes a woman leaving an unworthy boyfriend, not in slippers and a veil of tears but defiantly in 5-inch heels.

Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas is similarly fond of her Louboutins—she has been photographed countless times strutting the stage in her silver, above-the-knee Louboutin Supra Fifre boots, whose heel height rivals J-Lo’s. This is footwear that projects power and independence, although it’s a safe bet that the hip-hop diva has someone to help her with each boot’s 21 hooks.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

All About Shoes

All About Shoes

From Canada's Bata Shoe Museum comes a visually impressive exhibit focusing on the history of the shoe from traditi… [read review or visit site]

Virtual Shoe Museum

Virtual Shoe Museum

This virtual museum from Shoe Icons Publishing showcases over 800 pairs of shoes and related reference information.… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

*** Christian Louboutin *** Clear And Metallic Silver Stud Heels. Size 40Well Worn Christian Louboutin Black Leather Elisa Round Toe Heels 35 Us 5Christian Louboutin Puglia 100 Glitter Mini/ Platine Size 38! Brand New! Christian Louboutin Pvc Bis Un Bout 120 Pumps 38.5 Fluo Pink 133854Christian Louboutin Heels ~ Black Patent ~ Size Uk 5.5(eur 38.5) ~ Authentic ~*** Christian Louboutin*** Color Block Patent Leather Platform Heel. Size 39.5Well Worn Christian Louboutin Black Satin Leather Prive Slingback Peep Toe Sz 35Authentic Christian Louboutin 'so Kate' Nude Patent Leather Shoes-37.5Christian Louboutin Black L 7.5 R8 Leather Platform Pump Shoe New $675 Mismate$1295 Auth Christian Louboutin Bille Et Boule 120mm Blue Stud Spike Heel 38.5 38Christain Louboutin Rolando Blue Suade - Size 39.5 Eur - 6.5 UkChristian Louboutin 'vero Cuoio Open Back Stilettos, Black Leather; Size 38Christian Louboutin Nude Leather Marlenalta Ankle Strap 150 Heels Size 38Unisex Christian Louboutin Louis Flat Veau Velours Spikes Sneaker Size 40.5 Christian Louboutin Funky Roccia L6 R6.5 Strappy Sandal Shoe New $1695 MismatePreowned Christian Louboutin Sweet Charity Mini Spike Stud Handbag Shoulder BagChristian Louboutin Patent Bianca 36 Camel 133189Christian Louboutin 37 1/2 Christian Louboutin Diskoteka Silver Black Patent Leather Ankle Strap Heel 39Christian Louboutin Pumps Size 41Christian Louboutin Black Leather Round Toe Platform Pumps Size 37.5Christian Louboutin Apostrophy 100% Authentic New With Box 38.5 Msrp $675Christian Louboutin Lady Page Red Pony Size 38 Shoes HeelsChristian Louboutin Grey Wool Espadrille Wedges Size 40Christian Louboutin Black Leather Pointed Toe So Kate Pumps Size 40 10Christian Louboutin 38 Pigalle 100 Black Leather Pointed Toe HeelChristian Louboutin Black Satin Authentic Women's Pumps, Size 39.5Christian Louboutin HeelsChristian Louboutin Bronze Rolando 4" Platform Pumps Heels Sz 10, 41Christian Louboutin 37 Une Plume 140 Orange Open Toe Patent Slingback Wedge HeelChristian Louboutin "so Kate"Christian Louboutin Booties 38,5Christian Louboutin 40 Rolling Spikes Flat Black Suede Loafers Oxfords $1295Christian Louboutin 39 Une Plume 140 Orange Open Toe Patent Slingback Wedge HeelChristian Louboutin 38 Pigalle Plato 120 Mint Orange Yellow Patent Heel NibChristian Louboutin Nappa Armadillo Bride 100 Pumps 39 Blac White 133857Christian Louboutin Beige Platform Pump Size 42Christian Louboutin 'bianca' Patent Leather Pump 140mm Size 38.5Louboutin Peep-toe Summer Clogs - Taupe - Sz 9$635.00 Auth Christian Louboutin Brown Ballet Ballerina Flats Size 37.5 Us 7.5Christian Louboutin Vero Cuoio Italian Sandals Eu 37Christian Louboutin Gunmetal Gray Peep Toe Heels Sz 38Christian Louboutin 39 Gold Kid Leather Cork Wedge Heels Espadrilles PlatformChristian Louboutin Nude Patent Leather PumpsChristian Louboutin Pigalle Python Print Leather Beige Pumps 37Christian Louboutin HeelsBlack Christian Louboutin Louis Spikes Men's Flat Size 42 9Christian Louboutin Bronze So Kate Pumps Sz 40Christian Louboutin Rantus Orlato Leopard Pony Size Eu 40 100% AuthenticChristian Louboutin Filo Metallic Woven Detail Platform Pumps Size 39New Auth Christian Louboutin Red Leather Bianca Platform Pumps Size 37.5 Us 7.5Christian Louboutin Fringe Pumps 39 Blue 134124Christian Louboutin Limited Edition Volpi Swarovski Crystal Strass Heels Sz 37!Christian Louboutin Black Patent Leather Platform Pumps Size 37 7Christian Louboutin Womens 7 37 Linen Canvas Espadrille Peep Toe Wedge Shoes WbChristian Louboutin Size 36,5 Cora Flat Heart Jazz Calf Pvc Sandals NibWorn Christian Louboutin Pigalle FolliesChristian Louboutin Louis Flat Spikes Size Eu 39 1/2 100% AuthenticChristian Louboutin 35,5 Pigalle Plato 120 Heels Pump Nude Beige Kid LeatherChristian Louboutin Decollete 868 100 Nude Pumps Size 36.5 Authentic