Wednesday, May 16, 2012

SOUL TO SOLE WITH CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN

Posted by Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

The lovely Mr Louboutin (image from afanovafashion.com)
Earlier in the Spring I interviewed Christian Louboutin for Ponystep, a brilliant and fun style magazine with an irreverent and camp yet informed tone of voice. It is not a cheap purchase; £12 is a LOT to pay for a magazine - and we all do the work for Richard Mortimer, its founder and editor-in-chief (he also created BoomBox), for free because we know he can only just about afford to eat himself. As more people discover the magazine - and they are, in droves - he'll gain the ability to bring the price down.

Personally, I love how Ponystep documents the creative class together with pop and club culture in a big crazy soup of glossy pages. Its not everyday you see One Direction a shiny page away from a gay fetish-obsessed architect and trangender porn stars. But then, as a woman who spent most of her 20s hanging out in gay clubs, I appreciate a bit of diversity.

Which brings me onto Christian Louboutin, a designer and man I have a huge respect for, mainly because, after celebrating 20 years in business, and a massively successful one at that, he is still independent and has never sold out to the big boys for cash. Mr Louboutin has personal and creative integrity and is not afraid to stand up for himself, a David in a world of Goliaths.

The amazing "Pigalle Flat" £635 from Christian Louboutin


He gave a startlingly honest interview, to the point that he called me afterwards and asked me not to put some stuff in which was too personal and emotionally raw (I had tears in my eyes a few times), and if you don't know, he is also in the middle of a trademark case with PPR, the conglomerate which owns Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga. An Yves Saint Laurent shoe design incorporated a red sole into its design, something he rightly took huge exception to - if you know a Louby shoe, you also know they famously have pillar-box red soles.



The case is still ongoing. But one thing he said that didn't make it into the final edit has stayed with me, and it should be the way all designers operate... "You know I respect people. Sometimes you are designing things and you look closely and you think it looks too much like something of a certain designer. If I see that in my work then I immediately erase it, so it’s not even talking about logos or signatures of different brands. I would never approach that type of thing, never. Also, your work is about creating. You have to have your brain functioning rather than just copying, you know? You can’t be in both fields, you have to decide."

Loubi Zeppa £625 from Christian Louboutin

If you haven't already seen it, his exhibition currently at the design museum is wonderful and gloriously risque as well as being highly educational. If you ever wondered how a designer shoe is made, you can see it at the Design Museum. Now time to enjoy the interview....










How cute was Christian when he was younger?

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