|My personal Photo|
Autumn is making its way to the city. All around town, the leaves are changing gorgeous rust and golden colors. Nothing says autumn like a brisk stroll through a sun-strewn Central Park. Nothing that is, except The New Yorker Festival. I love that the readers’ diverse interests shape the magazine’s festival. There were so many events that I wanted to attend, if only there was more time… I ended up spending the afternoon with Lauren Collins and Christian Louboutin.
It goes without saying, that I adore a great shoe. When it comes to shoes, it’s difficult for me to pick favorites, but any list would have to include Mr. Louboutins’. While I generally favor discretion, Louboutins suit me. The lasts are shorter (from toe to heel), the arch is higher and the width is narrower across the foot- all things that work for those with narrow feet. Mr. Louboutin was unapologetic when it came to the fact that his shoes are designed with a narrow foot in mind.
|Courtesy of Christian Louboutin|
I’ve always loved the openness of the Louboutin atelier- a highly specialized workshop, where all types of Louboutins are made to measure and customized in every way imaginable. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing a few Christian Louboutin exhibitions that have forced me to question beauty and the notion of adornment. The Ballerina Fetish Shoe comes to mind.
That being said, I was very curious to hear Mr. Louboutin speak, in his own words, in an intimate setting. Mr. Louboutin was incredibly considerate, humble and demure with a great sense of humor. I loved when Christian Louboutin spoke of the drawing that inspired him to begin obsessively drawing shoes as a child. When he speaks about shoes, his energy and passion are palpable. Mr. Louboutin’s business is predicated on that passion.
|Courtesy of Christian Louboutin|
Mr. Louboutin was decidedly clear that he designs shoes for women because, women purchase shoes for themselves. “I’m working as someone who loves women,” the designer exclaimed. Mr. Louboutin spoke of taking a balanced approach in order to design shoes that men, but more importantly, women love. Mr. Louboutin explained that he likes his shoes to be worn, not simply because it keeps him in business. “Life is on the people. A shoe should be living its life rather than just being.” A few lovely care and maintenance tips were provided, which I will share in an upcoming post.
Every element of Mr. Louboutin’s designs is carefully considered. Even subtitles like “the musicality of a shoe.’’ One of my pet peeves is the sound of a poorly constructed shoe. For Mr. Louboutin, the sound a shoe makes is pure evocation. A Louboutin shoe commences with a sketch. Summer collections are dreamed up while floating down the Nile on his traditional Egyptian sailboat (in better times) or in Brazil. Winter collections are conceived in cold locales. The way people walk; conversations, movement, dance, architecture, fine art, objects (and pieces of objects), textiles and travel are all sources of inspiration.
Once the sketches are completed, the team at Louboutin’s factory in Milan turns the sketches into prototypes. Shoe design is a matter of proportion. A well-made heel works with the center of gravity. For someone who loves the design process, it was a pleasure to hear about the process of seeing the prototype, women in the studio trying it on, tailoring and cutting the shoe. It’s truly a gift when someone can share with you, their passion for what they do.
A few lovely bits---
On his biggest pleasure- “To design.”
On Minimalism- “Sometimes people talk about minimalism, but it isn’t minimalist. It’s just boring.”
On Men and their shoes- “Men are very proud to have their shoes for a long time.”
On designers he prefers to see his shoes paired with- “I never think of clothing when designing. There are no designers I prefer. I like to be surprised and to see shoes in a different way. I like to see women appropriate themselves to the shoe."
What makes an elegant woman? - “It comes from the heart.”
A word of advice- “ I was lucky to have a passion and work from that. It’s still a passion. I never had a plan, which made me enjoy every moment of the journey. What makes you happy is going to make you successful.”