Super-high heels can free women, says legendary
French shoe designer Christian Louboutin, who insists that wearing his
towering six-inch stilettos is a “form of liberty”.

While some feminists see vertiginous heels as sexual enslavement, Louboutin
believes the opposite — even if it means women have to walk slowly and
carefully in his iconic red-soled creations.

“Women do not want to give up wearing high heels,” the designer told AFP
before “The Exhibitionist”, a retrospective of his 30-year career, opens in a
Paris museum Wednesday.

While Louboutin also makes trainers and flat shoes, he admitted that when
it comes to the spike-heeled classics that made his name: “I don’t think about
comfort when I design.”

“No shoe with a 12cm (5 inch) heel is comfortable… but people do not come
to me looking for a pair of slippers,” said Louboutin, who helped bring high
heels back into fashion in the 1990s and 2000s.

They are not meant to be worn all the time, but super high heels allow
women to express themselves and break free of crushing norms, he said.

“To be a woman is also about enjoying one’s freedom to be feminine if you
want. Why renounce (high heels) when you can have them and flats,” he said.

Stylish footwear is not meant to be comfortable

“I don’t want people to look at my shoes and say: ‘They look really
comfortable!’ The important thing is that people say: ‘Wow, they’re

Even if they can only totter around in their Louboutins, that is no bad
thing, he told AFP.

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If the shoes “stop you running”, that is something “positive”, he added.
Having learnt his art under Roger Vivier, the man who claimed to have
invented the stiletto, Louboutin became a household name in the 1990s after
Princess Caroline of Monaco fell for one of his first solo creations.

Pop stars from Madonna to Tina Turner and Jennifer Lopez were soon
competing with half of Hollywood for fittings.

But even as some luxury brands like Dior, led by feminist designer Maria
Grazia Chiuri, have taken an axe to towering heels, Louboutin insisted they
still had their place.

“People project themselves and their stories into my shoes,” he said,
pointing to a particularly high pair of intricate lace boots called Corset
d’Amour, embroidered with scenes of love-making.

Louboutin revealed his life-long fascination with heels was sparked when he
was 10 years old and saw a sign banning the shoes at the Palais de la Porte
Doree — the museum now holding his retrospective.

“I started to draw them because of that sign,” he said, which was put up to
save the museum’s parquet floors.

the footwear designer aims to create a shoe seemless on the leg

“I think the fact that high heels were forbidden played on the
unconscious… there was also the mystery and the fetishistic side… the
simple drawing of a high-heeled shoe is often associated with sexuality,” he

Louboutin also credited the sign with plunging him into “the universe of
curves” which was to shape his art.

And he insisted that is art was not just about making heels higher and

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He has also been working on making his shoes disappear into the wearer’s
leg in a series which he calls Les Nudes — in a variety of skin colours — as
well as designs which lengthen the leg.

Other highlights of the often cheeky show, which runs until July 28,
include a hologram of a shoe that turns into the burlesque star Dita Von Teese
as well a series of Louboutin-sporting nudes shot by the American film
director David Lynch.

Louboutin rejoices in the fact that his shoes have now become so iconic
that his name has become a shorthand for luxury and sexiness, popping up in
rap songs, films and books.

“Pop culture is neither controlled or controllable, so I am very happy
about that,” he added.

Photo : Christian Louboutin Facebook



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