Christian Louboutin (born 1964) is a footwear designer who launched his line of high-end women's shoes in France in 1991. Since 1992, his designs have incorporated the shiny, red-lacquered soles that have become his signature. On March 27, 2007, Christian Louboutin filed an application for U.S. trademark protection of this red sole design.
As a child, Louboutin would regularly sneak out of school, from the age of 12, to watch the showgirls at some Paris nightclubs, because he was fascinated by their costumes, and cites this as his main inspiration for becoming a shoe designer: "[The showgirls] influenced me a lot. If you like high heels, it's really the ultimate high heel - it's all about the legs, how they carry themselves, the embellishment of the body. They are the ultimate icons." Although Louboutin faced much opposition following his decision to leave school so early, he claims that his resolve was strengthened after watching an interview on TV with Sophia Loren in which she introduced her sister, saying she had to leave school when she was only 12 but when she turned 50 she got her degree. "Everybody applauded! And I thought, 'Well, at least if I regret it I'm going to be like the sister of Sophia Loren!"
Christian Louboutin helped bring stilettos back into fashion in the 1990s and 2000s, designing dozens of styles with heel heights of 120mm (4.72 inches) and higher. The designer's professed goal is to “make a woman look sexy, beautiful, to make her legs look as long as [he] can.” While he does offer some lower-heeled styles, Louboutin is generally associated with his dressier eveningwear designs incorporating bejeweled straps, bows, feathers, patent leather and other, similar decorative touches.
Louboutin also received inspiration for his infamous, lethal-looking stilettos from an incident that occurred in his early twenties. He had visited a museum and noticed that there was a sign that forbade women to enter while wearing sharp stilettos, for fear of damage to the extensive wood flooring. This image stayed in his mind, and he later used this idea in his designs. "I wanted to defy that," Louboutin has said. "I wanted to create something that broke rules and made women feel confident and empowered."
Christian Louboutin has topped The Luxury Institute's annual Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) for 3 years; the brand's offerings were declared the Most Prestigious Women's Shoes in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Christian Louboutin's designs have gained popularity among socialites and celebrities, several of whom have made public appearances sporting the signature red soles. For example, Christina Aguilera and Nicole Kidman were outfitted by the couture cobbler for their weddings. Other famous fans of his shoes include Tina Turner, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Princess Marie Chantal of Greece, Catherine Deneuve, Cameron Diaz, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Sarah Jessica Parker.
A pair of size five black Christian Louboutin shoes once owned by Elizabeth Taylor sold for £10,000 at a charity auction in 2005.
Celebrities ranging from Angelina Jolie to Carrie Hoff to Mariah Carey, are fans of Christian Louboutin shoes and many celebrities are now choosing his shoes as their red carpet accessories. Patti LaBelle signed an endorsement contract with the company to wear their shoes during her concerts and on the red carpet. Her favorite are the Diamond Encrusted pumps. Angelina Jolie has favored his designs on almost all red carpet appearances. In her movie 'Wanted', Angelina Jolie dons a pair as the assassin 'Fox', these beige round-toed Louboutin's are from her personal collection. Anggun wore Christian Louboutin shoes in her "Si tu l'avoues / Crazy / Jadi Milikmu" video, the distinctive soles are plainly visible when she dances through the jolt upside-down camera's rolling. As on the back cover of Anggun's Elevation album, she wore Christian Louboutin golden heels shoes. Kylie Minogue also wore Christian Louboutin shoes in her "2 Hearts" video, which the magenta red soles are noticeable when she maneuvered on the piano. Britney Spears has been spotted wearing Louboutin shoes while clubbing in Los Angeles and at various court dates for her custody battle. Christina Aguilera is also a fan of Louboutin's creations, often seen wearing them to events, and during her 2006-07 Back to Basics Tour. Madonna wore Christian's black patent leather studded mary-jane
in her Live Earth performance. Japanese pop star Ayumi Hamasaki is also a fan of the brand, seen wearing platform peep-toe Louboutins in basic colors such as nude and black, as well as rhinestone pumps in a photo shoot for Sweet magazine, also Japanese jazz singer Shiina Ringo was noticed to wear a significant number of Louboutins during the promotion of her band's CD Variety. Louboutin also designed shoes for hit pop sensation Mika which he wore at his July 4, 2008, show at Parc des Princes. In an episode of Cribs UK, Danielle Lloyd shows of her many styles of Louboutin's shoes. Leigh Lezark and Rachel Bilson are also known fans of Christian Louboutin.Paris Hilton, Blake Lively and Amanda Bynes have also been spotted wearing the infamous red soled shoes.
Christian Louboutin currently has five boutiques in the United States. Two are located in New York, and one in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and in South Coast Plaza of Orange County. Stores are planned for Design District in Miami.
In Asia, the first Christian Louboutin boutique was opened in October 2007 on On Lan Street in Central, Hong Kong.
There are two in London, England. The original is in Motcomb Street. An additional one opened in Mount Street in 2008.
In addition to the stores a large proportion of sales are also done online through online stores and boutiques.
In Australia, you can find his shoes sold in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney in David Jones stores.
Recently, Louboutin opened his first store in South America in Shopping Iguatemi São Paulo.
In addition, a standalone Louboutin store opened this year in Ngee Ann City, a high-end mall in Singapore on its famous shopping stretch, Orchard Road.