Christian Louboutin: The man behind the red-lacquered soles

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Renowned for his iconic Pigalle heels along with the red-lacquered soles, Christian Louboutin is no stranger in the fashion world. For someone who decided to drop out of school and run away from home at the tender age of 12, Louboutin is a force to be reckoned with. Born on January 7, 1964 and raised in the 12th arrondissement in Paris, the successful French footwear designer is the product of a passionate affair between his mother and an Egyptian man, which explains his significantly darker skin tone. Refusing to feel like an outsider and being the creative child he was, Louboutin invented his own history inside his mind, complete with Egyptian characters like the pharaohs.

Though Louboutin had already been sketching shoes in his early teens, it wasn’t until 1976 when he first started being fascinated by footwear. The young Louboutin had visited the Musee national des Arts d’Afrique et d’Oceanie, where he saw an African sign forbidding women who wear sharp stilettos from entering a building to avoid damaging the wood flooring. This serendipitous encounter served as an inspiration for Louboutin when he began designing his shoes several years later, with a mission to “create something that broke rules and made women feel confident and empowered,” he once said. The rebel in Louboutin is reflected through his many aesthetic, and sometimes outrageous, designs.

Prior to working for several designers, Louboutin’s first job included assisting the entertainers backstage at Folies Bergeres, a cabaret music hall in Paris. He also appeared in a few films during his Punk phase in the 70s, such as The Homosexual Century and Race d’ep. Upon returning from his trip to Egypt and India, where he spent a year there, Louboutin compiled all of his high heel drawings in a portfolio and sought employment at top couture houses he’d set his sights on. He was eventually hired by Charles Jourdan, and later became an apprentice for Roger Vivier. Louboutin went on to be a freelance designer for Yves Saint Laurent, Maud Frizon, and Chanel before taking a stint as a landscape gardener during the late 80s.

In 1991, the determined designer finally set up his own company, which was backed by a couple of funders, counting Princess Caroline of Monaco as his first customer. Thanks to the princess’ positive remarks about Loboutin’s shoe salon in Paris, it has catapulted Louboutin into fashion stardom, with many famous names following suit to get a pair of his fabulous stilettos, including French actress Catherine Deneuve and designer Diane von Furstenberg. Today, Louboutin’s A-list customers include Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tina Turner, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, and Sarah Jessica Parker, who wore a pair of Louboutin’s at her wedding.

Louboutin’s creations tend to be 4 inches and higher, with his iconic red soles inspired by an employee’s nail polish. This signature look of his has been legally trademarked in a few countries. While most of Louboutin’s shoes have red soles, there are also several designs of his that come in blue soles, though they’re only available for a limited time and can only be purchased through a special order. To date, his most expensive creation was a pair of stilettos paved in rubies for one of his clients, which was said to have cost over $1 million. Besides designing shoes and bags for women, Louboutin also designs for men, and launched his own beauty products and perfume.

10 Christmas indulgences from Liberty of London

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Founded in 1875 by Arthur Lasenby Liberty, Liberty is a luxury department store located in London’s West End. The fashionable store carries its own line of products as well as a wide range of luxury goods, from cosmetics to furniture, by designer brands such as Alexander McQueen, Chloe, Lanvin, and Kate Spade.

During its early days, the store was mostly selling objets d’art, fabric and ornaments brought in from the East. With exotic clientele that includes renowned Pre-Raphaelite artists, it wasn’t unusual when the founder had 42 Indian villagers at his store and staged a living village of Indian artisans to generate sales and publicity.

Liberty later built relationships with English designers, particularly the ones practicing the artistic styles like Art Nouveau or Arts & Crafts. Through these relationships where Liberty encouraged the designers in their artistic pursuits, he helped them develop the style to perfection.

Fast forward to our time, the store’s signature Art Nouveau-style finish is featured on its many bags, purses, scarfs and other small accessories produced in-house. We found 10 exclusively hand pick items and designed by Liberty London products for you to indulge in this Christmas:

1. Carnaby Saddle Bags
The compact cross body bag is inspired by the Ianthe design with a chic Art Nouveau-style finish.

2. Monica Vinader Gold-Plated Signature Bangle
The Monica Vinader Signature bangle blends directional design with effortless style. The handcrafted design is a bold new statement from the British jewellery brand mixing strong, clean lines with flowing curves, making it both modern and feminine. A modernist inspired piece which can be stacked and styled.

3. Vintage Radio – Roberts Revival Radio
Fresh sounds meet vintage styling; the Liberty Flowers design have given the iconic Roberts ‘Revival’ radio a heritage makeover in the quinessential floral prints. The retro design takes full advantage of the latest technology with full DAB functionality, excellent sound quality and 120 hours of battery life: truly portable and a must for life on the go.

4. Santal 33 by LE LABO
New York-based French perfumiers Le Labo create sensual unisex scents that evoke wild open plains, rugged landscapes and open fires. Under the delicate top notes of iris and violet in Santal 33 lies a heart of spice, sandalwood and smouldering musk – buy a hand-blended bottle from our counter and adorn with a personalised message.

5. Wristlets | The Alphabet Collection
The Alphabet Collection by Liberty features decorative initials (from A-Z) and various prints emblazoned on tote bags and wristlets.

6. Nike x Liberty Air Max
A classic silhouette with a modern twis, a distinct update in your fitness gear Nike x Liberty Air Max 1 Ultra trainers – featuring tan leather and a springtime-ready floral Liberty print, these trainers are bound to stand out amongst the crowd.

7. Iphis Notebooks and 2017 Diaries
Made of leather, the Iphis notebook features the elegant Iphis print, while the luxurious 2017 diary features the Ianthe design embossed on its covers with lined ivory pages inside.

8. Liberty Scarf Styling Cards
Nicely packaged in their iconic purple box, the scarf styling cards features a set of 13 cards with info on how to wear and tie each style.

9. Imran Silk Pocket Square
The soft silk pocket square features the iconic Imran design emblazoned on it.

10. Luxury Soap
Bathroom essential, individually wrapped in art deco style Liberty Print soaps are the perfect gift or bathroom accessory.

Happy Shopping at Liberty London!

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