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 Men's 44.5 Us 11.5Christian Louboutin Woman's Shoes Size 37Christian Louboutin So Kate Swarovski Crystal Ab Strass Heels Sz 37!Christian Louboutin Black Silver Spiked Pumps Peep Toe Size 41Christian Louboutin Apostrophy Pump In Nude Size 41.5Authentic Christian Louboutin So Kate Leopardino Brn, Sz 10.5 Us 40.5 EurChristian Louboutin Woman Shoes Mismatched Size 37/37.5Christian Louboutin Daffodile Style Women's Red Bottom Size 7.5Christian Louboutin Woman's Shoes Mismatched Size 40/38 New With DefectsChristian Louboutin Shoes MenChristian Louboutin Red Bottom Shoes (unisex)Christian Louboutin Daffodils Size 36 Woman Us 6 BlackWoman's Christian Louboutin Heels Size 37 New With Defect Discolored Christian Louboutin Lady Tucson Tan Booties Size 41Woman's Christian Louboutin Heels Size 37 New With Defect DiscoloredChristian Louboutin Dust Bag100% Auth New Women Louboutin Aqua Ronda 120 Pvc Plexi Heel Sandals Us 8Christian Louboutin So Kate Python 39 Us 8.5 Green PumpsChristian Louboutin Louis Spikes Red Suede Leopard Print Size 10 Us 43 EuMens Christian Louboutin Louis Flat (rare) White Pik Pik Sneakers Size 43Authentic Christian Louboutin Sneakers Size 9Christian Louboutin Highness Black Suede Eu 36.5 Us 6 - 6.5 PumpsChristian Louboutin Platform Wedge With Chain Trim New Eu36Rare Christian Louboutin Jeweled Flower Heels 38 $1500Christian Louboutin 'mandolina' Laser Cut Bootie Size 39.5New Christian Louboutin 39.5 Glitter Silver Gold Heels Pumps Sandal Shoes Nib Shocking Neon Pink Christian Louboutin 41Christian Louboutin Black Leather Tall Zepita 85 Wedge Boots/shoes Size 39Christian Louboutin Pigalle Follies 100mm Black Leather Brand New$1345 Christian Louboutin Calamijane 100 Black Leather Ankle Boot Heels 39 8.5 8Christian Louboutin Pigalle 120 Black Patent Pump Heel Shoe 36.5 Nib$745 Nib Christian Louboutin Leopard Ombré Pigalle Follies 55mm Size 39 9Christian Louboutin 'daffodile' Size Euro 36/us ~6 (worn 1 Hour, Indoors @ Home)Mens Christian Louboutin, Size 11Pre Owned Christian Louboutin Bianca 140 Python Masai Multi Pumps Size 38Nwob Christian Louboutin 'so Kate ' Blue Metallic Python Pumps/shoes 38.5LouboutinChristian Louboutin Size 38 Lady Peep Toe 150 Patent Calf Nude Authentic HeelsSo Kate Christian LouboutinChristian Louboutin - Disco Ball Pik Boat, Flat, Size 42 (us 9) - Men's ShoesChristian Louboutin 'very Prive' 37.5 Nude 129mm Pumps/heels.Christian Louboutin Black Leather Boot Size 39 Worn OnceLouboutin Simple Pump 100 Sca Kid T. Cuoio Color Cacao Size 40.5Authentic Christian Louboutin Black Iridescent Debout Disco 100mm Sz 39.5Christian Louboutin Simple Black Leather 37.5 Pump Shoes - Very Comfortable!!Authentic Christian Louboutin So Kate Black Patent Leather Shoes Size 10.5 UsChristian Louboutin Decollete 328 100 Python Eu 38.5 Us 7.5 New Pink PumpsChristian Louboutin So Kate 120 Leopard Print Patent Pump Heel Shoe Eu 37 NibChristian Louboutin Nude Patent Pumps Size 39 1/2Christian Louboutin Confusa 100 In Black Patent, Size 39Christian Louboutin Louis Flat Spikes White Gold Leather Sneakers Shoe Size 10Christian Louboutin Alti 160 Gold Cork Spike Heels Stiletto Pumps 37 / 7Christian Louboutin Nwob Black Satin Ankle Strap Heel Sandal Shoe Sz 38 8Christian Louboutin So Kate Black Suede 120mm - Very Good Condition + Receipt!Authentic Christian Louboutin Volpi 150 Gold Perp Toe Platform Size 10/40Christian Louboutin Decollete Black Patent Leather 37.5 Us 7 PumpsChristian LouboutinChristian Louboutin So Kate White Patent Leather Pumps Women's Size 38 MChristian Louboutin Authentic Boxed So Kate 120 Patent Black Shoe Size 36Christian Louboutin Spiked Heels Size 40