It’s a sweltering summer’s day in Paris, the second-last day of Couture Week. I arrive just steps away from the Christian Louboutin office on Rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, at a house that Louboutin used to own. Filled with antique furniture, statues and heels and boots from his latest collection, it resembles one of Louboutin’s boutiques—whimsical and at times over the top.
The designer arrives a few minutes behind schedule but in good spirits. Couture Week is a busy time for Louboutin. As well as hosting his own show, he attends those of his designer friends. It was only last night that he presented his spring 2019 collection in a little theatre and dance school converted into “the wonderful world of Louboutin,” which tied into how he began his career—designing shoes for burlesque dancers.
“Busy day, busy days, busy week,” Louboutin laments about his schedule as he kicks off his red-soled penny loafers and adopts a comfortable perch on the sofa with his legs crossed. And it’s been a busy career since he launched his eponymous label in 1991, with the creative genius expanding into men’s accessories, handbags and, more recently, cosmetics and fragrance.
What inspired your latest collection?
I come across a lot of the inspiration for my collections by chance. Something just hits you when you meet someone, see an exhibition or come across something. Spring/summer 2019 started with this book, Les Décorateurs des Années 60-70. It’s about the famous decorators of the 1960s and ’70s—French and Italian mostly.
The big decorators were very innovative at the time and created things from chrome, metal, PVC, and mixed all these extremely luxurious materials with things that were more common, like mixing golden gates with wood or chrome. They referenced a lot of eras such as Haute Époque and the Renaissance, and there’s also a little part that’s influenced by China and Japan, mostly lacquer art. For me, it’s all in the details.
Where do you design your collections?
I design in Portugal, Egypt or Brazil for the most part when it comes to summer collections. For winter collections, I like to create in a cold environment.
Bruno Chamberlain, my business partner, and I share a house in Vendée, in the French countryside. I like to go there to design our cold-season collections. I need to feel the temperature to create.