Christian Louboutin is the man behind the world’s most famous high heels, instantly recognisable from their red soles and (usually) super-high heels. The French shoe designer is loved by celebrities and royalty all over the world, but for most of us, getting hold of his famed heels is a lifelong ambition.
Last night’s, Michael Waldman’s Louboutin documentary lifted the lid on the man behind the shoes, following a year in Christian’s life; think globetrotting, Bhutanese royalty and Kylie Minogue, all topped off with our new favourite butler, Safquat, as Louboutin prepares to dominate the Indian wedding market. Here are seven things we learnt from Christian Louboutin: The World’s Most Luxurious Shoes.
1. You’d never have guessed it, but Christian’s very first pair of Louboutin shoes were flat. Yep, the man who loves nothing more than a six-inch heel was originally inspired by a picture of Princess Diana, and designed a pair of flat black shoes with ‘LOVE’ written across the toes to make her smile.
2. Christian travels everywhere with his Bangladeshi butler, Safquat, who rides by his side on a vespa to appointments across the world. In the documentary, Safquat helps Louboutin get ready for royal appointments in Bhutan, a launch in Mumbai and day-to-day life in Paris, suggesting the perfect outfit for every occasion.
3. Louboutin always wondered why he had darker skin than his three sisters as a child, and generally thought that he must have been adopted. But last year, at the age of 51, Louboutin discovered through one of his sisters that his mother, Irene, had been having a secret affair with an Egyptian man, leading to her pregnancy with Christian.
4. It’s not so surprising that Louboutin designed a heel specifically for supermodel Kate Moss, but the way it came about is actually quite sweet. Kate is a long-time fan of the classic Pigalle pump, but when it hurt her feet Louboutin amended the design to make it more comfortable. Voila, the So Kate was born.
5. Louboutin always includes a little fetish or ‘soft dominatrix’ to his collections, but how do shoes become fetish? It’s actually the distance between the heel and the arch of the sole – the more fetish the shoe, the closer the distance, and the more your body pushes your chest out to balance. Just check out thE eight-inch ballet pump Louboutin designed with filmmaker David Lynch. Forget walking in high heels, Christian wants you to crawl.
6. Louboutin personally visits his factory multiple times a year, and tried out all the new styles on lucky factory worker, Antoinetta. Taking a break from the factory floor, Antoinetta models prototypes for Louboutin to chop and change the style on her foot. Now that’s a job we could definitely do.
7. In Bhutan, you can’t breathe on the Queen. While visiting Bhutan to work with some local artisans on a new collection, his close friends the King and Queen visited the artisan school to see the designs. Locals are not supposed to make direct eye contact or speak to the royals without covering their mouths, though.
8. Louboutin cares a lot about tiles. Kitting out his Portugese pool (sorry, ‘water tank’) in the right shade of sepia is a hot topic in the documentary; they have been specially commissioned, after all. We can definitely relate…kind of.
Think Louboutin was the first shoe desigenr to do red soles? You need to see this V&A exhibition which reveals someone came way, way before him. Click through for more shoe secrets revealed.
Missed it first time round? Catch it on All4.