Christian Louboutin's shoes are instantly recognisable by their 'Chinese red' soles. The brand has become synonymous with making women feel sexy, producing shoes that give the appearance of an elongated leg, such as the 'Maskovitch' stiletto.
Louboutin was born in Paris 1964. Upon leaving school, he worked with showgirls at the Parisian music hall, the 'Folies Bergere' and was influenced by how they carried themselves in spiked heels. Showgirls became his ultimate icons and the inspiration for his leg-lengthening creations. After the Folies Bergere, Louboutin worked for various shoe companies including Charles Jourdan and Roger Vivier, before opening a Parisian boutique in 1991. His shoes are unconventional and he likes to be associated with the decorative arts rather than fashion, drawing upon art, architecture and the landscape. Whimsical details are seen in the shaping of the 'Maskovitch's' vamp which features a mask.
In 2015, the company operated 105 stores worldwide, including a store in Pitt St, Sydney and Collins St, Melbourne, as well as selling to 300 high end stockists globally. Louboutins are worn by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Catherine Deneuve, Kirsten Dunst, Tina Turner, Angelina Jolie and Victoria Beckham and have featured in HBO's 'Sex and the City'. In addition to the attention brought to the brand by celebrity endorsement, sales have been boosted by the instagram-worthy qualities of the shoes, particularly, the red soles. Louboutin's shoes epitomise the tension between practicality and a woman's desire to feel sexy. The popularity of his shoes highlights that even in an era in which women have made great strides towards equality, the appeal of a towering heel continues to hold sway.
Hume, Marion, "Christian Louboutin on shoes, lipstick and the freedom to dream", Australian Financial Review Magazine, August 28 2015, http://www.afr.com/lifestyle/fashion/christian-louboutin-on-shoes-lipstick-and-the-freedom-to-dream-20150709-gi8c6h
The Design Museum, 'Christian Louboutin', September 11, 2014, updated October 18, http://designmuseum.org/designers/christian-louboutin