The Collective /SHARE
Christian Louboutin in Retrospect
From showgirls to secret gardens and many, many shoe laces in between, we go inside the London Design Museum’s first Christian Louboutin retrospective.
Spanning the Parisian shoe maestro’s 20-year career, this sensory exhibition opens with a seductive shadow show – outlining the perfect proportions of his classic Pigalle pump, which will be manifested into many a red-heeled heroine inside.
First stop: the travel carousel that circles the start of the design process, pairing up the designer’s personal photographs with his creative results. (Louboutin is well known by his staff for disappearing for an uncontactable two week holiday, during which time he designs each new season.)
Lining the walls we find the fringed Tina boots and Ariella Clou studded suede numbers that started many a high street trend. Not to be outdone by Louboutin’s designer collaborations with houses from Rodarte to Yves Saint Laurent - for which he designed the diamante ‘YSL’ logo sandals for Mr Saint Laurent’s last Paris show.
Next up: Louboutin’s 2007 ‘Fetish’ collaboration with David Lynch. Remember those ballerina flats with 8-inch heels, the barbed wire boots and stuck-together Siamoise shoes – officially his hardest shoe to walk in yet. He had to hold the model up for the shoot.
But perhaps the most fascinating part of the exhibition is the life-size mock-up of Louboutin’s Paris studio, and his somewhat unknown love of formal gardening, pursued whenever on a break from shoes.
But to finish off this dance (and this designer loves to dance!), you can’t go past the hologram strip tease by good friend Dita Von Teese.
After all, in Mr Louboutins own words: “Designing shoes is magicians work - a shoe should be visible, but sometimes needs to be invisible.”
Besides the sardine can shoes, Guinness beer can pumps, Rolls-Royce platforms (complete with grill), and Miss Piggy’s loaned sparkly platforms that is. The only pair missing was Carrie Bradshaw’s ruined ruffle sandals from Miranda’s untimely water breaking.
The Christian Louboutin exhibition will be hosted at the London Design Musuem until July 9.