by Alex R. Travers
“Entrée,” read the cabaret-like neon sign at the Design Museum London. With it, a red arrow flexed itself and curved down to seduce visitors into its dark barrel-vault entrance. Inside: holographic images of Dita Von Tess (the “queen of burlesque”), a fetish room with photographs by David Lynch, and a recreation of Christian Louboutin’s studio—with shoes from his past collections to celebrate the iconic designer’s 20-year anniversary.
It’s been a red-hot career for Christian Louboutin. From a boy who admired the dancers’ ability to remain sure-footed at the Folies Bergère to launching his own business in Paris in 1992, Monsieur Louboutin has always been passionate about high-fashion shoe design.
And it shows. The trademark red soles have become a status symbol that posses more allure than any other shoe brand on the market. “Red is more than a color. It is a symbol of love, of blood, of passion,” said Louboutin in an interview. Louboutin has shown the world the artistry and theatricality of his shoe design from stilettos to lace-up boots, studded sneakers, and bejeweled pumps.
But let’s talk men’s wear. Although more popular of recent times, Louboutin has been making men’s shoes for friends and for special collaborations throughout his career. The first men’s boutique opened in Paris in September of 2011, followed by a location in New York and London in 2012. The latest edition: a West Hollywood boutique at 657 North Robertson Boulevard that marks the largest selection of Christian Louboutin men’s accessories on the West Coast.
The store itself is a powerhouse of luxury goods. The boutique’s exterior façade is expertly laid out with geometric Basaltina stone tiles to create a herringbone pattern, while two august Cyprus trees frame either side of the entrance. Inside, meticulous details of rich materials crafted by artisans from around the world are used to create a masculine retail environment. As seen in the men’s boutiques in Paris and New York, diamond-paneled leather walls (hand-embroidered with various shoe patterns from Louboutin’s own designs) offer a luxurious background to display the designer’s red-sole creations. Pleated turquoise leather wallpaper, created by 212box, adorns the walls behind the signature men’s metal circle displays. Additionally, laser-cut white cowhide crisscrosses decorate the wall behind the cash desk to form a puzzled patchwork. It’s truly a work of art!
Customers also have the ability to create their own personal pair of shoes within the Louboutin “Tattoo Parlor.” This parlor offers shoppers the freedom to add unique touches to their favorite pair of Louboutins. Personal tattoos or ones chosen from Louboutin designs can be expertly translated into bespoke embroideries to create one-of-a-kind shoes.
For more information, visit Christian Louboutin’s website.
Follow Christian Louboutin on Twitter: @LouboutinWorld
To purchase the Christian Louboutin catalog by Christian Louboutin, Philippe Garcia, David Lynch, and John Malkovich, visit Rizzoli’s website.