For The Love of the Shoe

In recent years, my track record for keeping up-to-date with TV is a little arbitrary. It takes something spectacular, cinematically beautiful or thought provoking, for me to make a cup of decaf-coffee, put all social-media devices out of reach, and dedicate myself to the box. Christian Louboutin: The World’s Most Luxurious Shoes (Channel 4) was not to be missed. It was certainly decaf-coffee worthy. But why dedicate time to the shoe?

I am unsure as to when I first became aware of Louboutin. But what I do know for certain, is that from when I first made the discovery, I vowed that in reaching some substantial point in my career, there would be only two things that I would purchase; a pair of Louboutin’s and a Vivienne Westwood bag. For everyone, there is something desirable in the things they love which is often unique to them.

Some people buy a home, as a physical presentation of their accolades, others desire big vacations for the experience, and then there are those who set their eyes on the tantalisingly beautiful. Sometimes it’s in the idea of aesthetics, other times there’s a specific significance, and for others, it’s a gleaming label for all to see. What luxury is after all, is a personal value we attach. It is often associated to craftsmanship and price, but beyond this, it is a desire, significance, it is a power within itself. It is time and effort, something of pleasure and certainly something of exclusivity.

My reasonings aside, what is truly beautiful, is that the World of Louboutin has reached beyond the gleaming shelves of worldwide stores and the fashion-aware, for now, even the channel flickers have had a chance to embark on a televised journey of a greatly celebrated legacy.

Louboutin Tribalou Collection Photo: MariannaMichael© 

Louboutinize, verb (loʊ.bu:tɝ.ais): To impart the joyous sprit of Christian Louboutin.

Doing what I do, I have often been asked about the significance of fashion. I have been asked as to why it is studied as a subject and medium; why it is loved and why fashion magazines, editors, stylists, photographers and filmmakers bare such a legacy for something seemingly superficial. Sometimes I want to cry, and other times, I take a deep breath and begin to delve into reasonings and concepts and justifications, sometimes starting back at when women wore crinolines and compare it to a time where women were liberated, where festishwear became a style. I’ll sometimes talk about the unexplainable feeling of desire. I’ll even sometimes talk about fashion and its place to help save the environment. There is a plethora of what one can say. And of course, it may be seen as secular to people who have a divine interest in the industry.

“It would offend me to put my name on a design I would not be proud of. It’s non negotiable”

– Louboutin

Christian Louboutin is a deity, as have become his shoes, now joined by a line of beauty products. What one may expect from a show dedicated to the red-lacquered sole, is a look at some form of frivolity. Instead, they receive unprecedented access to a world beyond footwear. An insight into the world of many. And in all its lavishness, what entails is cultural insights, art, style, business and eroticism.

This is not exclusive to Louboutin alone. Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Pam Hogg and Jean Paul Gaultier, are but four creatives who had never feared the darker, suggestive, raw, realistic or unique. The list could go on. Their dextrous works have made marks in the industry. They have sparked interest, thought and have challenged perceptions and ideas. When you think about Guy Bourdin, do you not immediately think about legs and shoes?

Legs: Legs, legs, legs…everywhere! When Christian was a young man, he frequented the glamorous shows of Parisian cabaret Folies Bergère, and a shoe man was born. Since then, his desire to elevate women has never wavered. Swipe to choose from 1 of 7 pairs of legs at launch – some sexy, some irreverent, all fun. Choices include a ballerino, international burlesque star Dita von Teese and a sporty equestrian.

Guy Bourdin, Vogue Paris, June 1979

“You are going to see a documentary about someone who’s been loving what he’s doing, but he’s doing something totally useless, If you have no problem with that, hello!”


The insight may be one into the lavishness of a man about Paris and Bhutan. He picks tiles for his holiday home and discusses shoes with Hamish Bowles. We see shoes from the atelier and those for on-the-rack. He’s an honest, endearing man, with an insightful documentary into the art of the cobbler.


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