Christian Louboutin, the top talent, Les Echos Week-end

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The ” Louboutin “. At the dawn of the new millennium, the term had almost become a synonym for heel needle. In nearly thirty years of career, the creator of shoes parisian Christian Louboutin has earned a global reputation. Inspired by his life outside the norms, of his travels, his encounters, but also of its artistic affinities, the 56 year old man into a walk-in the luxury shoe in popular culture. The book Christian Louboutin, exhibition(ist)signed Eric Reinhardt and the exposure that is associated with the palace of the Porte-Dorée – the latter could resume by July 2020 – allow you to lift the veil on the inspiration of an artist at hand.

Born in Paris, father a cabinetmaker and a housewife, he takes a very early taste for adventure, and regularly escapes from the adolescence of the family’s apartment to sneak in the theatre and other comedy clubs, including the Folies Bergère or the Palace. The first love mentioned in the book through chapters devoted to crystals and the gems, but also to the feathers, as shown in the exhibition through the performance of the queen of burlesque modern Dita von Teese. “As a child, when I saw the dancers on stage, I really saw myself as a bird, for me there were no costumes, the natural habitat of the feathers it was a bird, but it was also the dancers. I have somewhat the same relation to the shoe, I like it when he seems to be a natural attachment to the body of the woman “analysis-t-it in the book.

Rocked the parisian nights, it is through the feast that he will establish his friendships, the most solid, with the model Farida Khelfa, but also the artists Pierre et Gilles, or the film director Eva Ionesco. After a first visit with Charles Jourdan in Romans-sur-Isère, the cradle of the French fashion of shoe, it works for different fashion brands (Chanel, Hervé Léger, Maud Frizon…) before becoming the personal assistant of the shoe brand Roger Vivier, at the end of the 1980s, and then to launch the brand that bears his name in 1991.

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The collection ” the Nudes “

One of his productions, with the duo of designers Whitaker Malem ©Marc Domage

The signature of his brand, the red sole, the one that will enter the history of fashion, happen almost on a kick head in 1993. While he was working on a model of pump flower called ” Thoughts “, inspired by a painting of Andy Warhol, he had the idea to paint entirely the outsole with the aid of the bottle of red nail Polish of his assistant. Satisfied with his find, he has always painted the bottom of his shoes in this hue carmine so special. If the creator has made red his trademark, he has not neglected the other colors.

Driven in particular by its love of the arts first – starting with the place of the exhibition itself, formerly the museum of Arts of Africa and Oceania, it made constant reference in his work to these inspirations have come from elsewhere, notably the masks the Hopi, an indian tribe of Arizona, whose drawings responsible for colors found on sandals or mules. Pre-columbian art it will also inspire many of the creations heavy in style, just like the ceramics, totem poles, or indian art and its many mythologies, a country that he has known for many years.

This openness to the world inspires him also in 2009 one of his greatest success, where once again, it is a question of colour : the collection ” Nude “. The idea is to imagine a shoe that would be confused with the leg, as its perfect extension. He signed shoes flesh colour, and is gradually expanding its palette : “If the idea is that a shoe having exactly the same color as the skin, keeps the nudity, did not dress, but will continue to strip the leg, then it must be adapted to the different skin tones […] I started with five colors. At the office, we had the skin colors are completely different, of Matilda, diaphanous, Alpha, Guinea-Conakry, so that it has begun work to define five colors corresponding to skin tones different. It is then increased to seven, and now it is nine “details there in the book.

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Icon of pop culture

With 166 shops and 150 points of sale across the world, Christian Louboutin has largely exceeded the borders. Thus, the creator is now known to all, to the point that it became a reference to the pop culture of the world. “It has created a fashion item today universal, with a real signature, and that speaks directly to women. There are in the idea to buy her first pair of Louboutin something of the order of the rite of passage for a woman, it is a form of emancipation. In addition, it is not only inspired by the pop culture, but now it is full of the same pop culture, which is something rare “says Olivier Gabet, curator of the exhibition who also signs the preface to the book. In 2009, the american singer Jennifer Lopez the integrated addition to his repertoire by signing a song simply titled Louboutins. This last details the story of a woman who regains his freedom and leaves his companion slipping his heels. Here, too, a symbol of emancipation…

The escarpin Pigalle… always with the red sole-the signature of the claw ©Jean-Vincent Simonet

Present throughout his work, and watermark in the exhibition, the pop culture has many interpretations to the creator. Thus, it is associated in 2007 with director David Lynch for a series of photographs of a naked and sensual, dubbed ” Fetish “, taking pictures of the dancers of the Crazy Horse, and that is found both in the book and the exhibition. But this is the part called ” Pop ” Corridor “, which closes the exhibition, which gives the most to see the close relationship the creator has with contemporary artists : one discovers there, turn on the red carpet or in the clips of those who cannot do without their precious shoes : Lady Gaga, Mika or Rihanna, passing by the late basketball player, Kobe Bryant, Beyoncé, the stars of Bollywood or even the unbeatable Barbie ! Character as charismatic as his shoes are emblematic of an era, Christian Louboutin has not finished exploring the thousand and one ways to put the world at his feet.

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“Christian Louboutin, exhibition(iste), with texts by Eric Reinhardt, photos of Jean-Vincent Simonet. Preface by Olivier Gabet. Editions Rizzoli, New York, 256 p., 59 EUR.




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