The man behind the designs!
Christian Louboutin the brand, is basically a house-hold name. Although Louboutin’s shoes are made for both women and men, the vast majority of sales and production are for women. This product line has come an incredibly long way, in a relatively short period of time. Why? In order to answer this question proficiently we must look at the history of the man behind the designs. Louboutin was born in France in 1963, and at the age of 12 already knew the direction of his life’s work. I believe most of us would agree, at this tender age, we probably had many different career path ideas and endless childhood indecision. At age sixteen, young Christian was already working in his desired field. He was hired as an apprentice, sketching designs for women’s shoes. During those early years, he viewed himself as a rebel, partially due to his skin tone, as he was “much darker” than the rest of his family (he has three siblings). He concedes to feeling as though he’d been adopted. Clearly, his original designs would support the notion of unconventionality. The list of design-houses he worked for, are a who’s who, in the world of high-end women’s leather products. As a contractual designer, Louboutin had relationships with YSL, Charles Jourdan, and Roger Vivier to name a few. In his teens he traveled extensively, to learn more about the world’s cultures. He has altered the manner in which many shoe manufacturers market their products today.
Louboutin is changing the way many of these design houses are marketing their merchandise going forward. For years he has minimized the quantity of production associated with some of the trendy styles, and even some of the classic designs, creating a higher demand. This maneuver also supports an environment of exclusivity for his designs. This is the primary reason why the styles sell-out so rapidly. He will later revisit the design, and regain a market for them. It is not only smart, but works like a charm!!
During the ensuing years, Louboutin had disassociated himself from the women’s shoe industry and pursued a career in landscape gardening. This was a short-lived hiatus from his passion, and by 1991 he opened his first shoe store in Paris. It didn’t take long before complimentary remarks from European dignitaries propelled his business to the top of the latter in the fashion world. In 2008 Christian Louboutin secured the “red bottom” trademark in the USA. The brand sky-rocketed almost immediately, as word of his history of crafting shoes for British royalty went viral. Eventually American “media royalty”, helped turn Louboutin gold into platinum, following an early 2008 “Oprah” show appearance. After countless industry accolades and celebrity endorsements worldwide, extraordinary success loomed evident.
Louboutin’s approach to exclusivity not only impacts the styles but includes sizing and also his price points. The phrase toe-cleavage has become synonymous with many styles in his powerful arsenal of pumps. Creating this effect meant lowering the “vamp” (that part of the upper which covers the toes to the lower ankle) exposing the divisions between the toes. Subsequently, the design eliminates women with bunions (swelling of the first joint of big toe) or those with wide metatarsal bones (referred to as ball of the foot) from finding comfort with these designs. Moreover those with naturally chubby toes, attempting to wear these styles, may appear as though the shoe is to narrow and squeezing the foot together. This is not a stylish look. Women with narrow to medium size feet will enhance the toe-cleavage effect and have that sexy appearance. Most of the high-heeled platform peep-toe pumps follow this rule.
The desire to own these amazingly distinct designs entices some women to over-size the shoe. Within a very short period of time, (sometimes one or two outings) the shoe will stretch at the wrong pressure positions, and will begin to slip at the heel. Occasionally this problem can be addressed by having “halter pads”, (self adhesive forms placed just below the metatarsal area of the foot) applied to the shoe reducing the slippage. It doesn’t always work yet other options are virtually non-existent. Imagine paying $1500.00, at the medium to lower end of the price points, for a single wearing. To avoid fitting and sizing issues, resulting in pain and loss of capital, don’t ever over-size these shoes. Often you’ll notice women walking in these shoes with their feet pointed outward in opposite directions. Their shoes are not fitting properly, so they compensate by gripping the inside of the shoe with their toes, and “duck walking” to keep the shoes on their feet. This is not a comfortable method of wearing Louboutin shoes. The medium high-heels with closed rounded toe-boxes, will also have a low vamp, but will deliver more long-term comfort and wearability. Several options such as a “Maryjane” design, with a strap across the instep (upper middle arched area of the foot) may fit more securely and comfortably.
Platforms will level out the heels, in terms of reducing the foot’s pitch, but without a true fit your comfort level is diminished. Initially these shoes may fit snug and sometimes a bit cramped. The shoe will definitely stretch, even after the first wearing, adding more comfort. However, if they give you any real pain, don’t purchase that shoe. The shoes that are painful from the start, will never provide the comfort we all seek in our footwear. Purchase the size that you normally wear, and if the shoe doesn’t fit comfortably, find another style. Louboutin has many styles, shapes and heel sizes. “But that was the style I REALLY wanted”! Well it’s not the correct “last” (the last represents the anatomical shape of the foot) for your feet. The last of each style is different from the next, taking several variables into consideration. Be patient and try several styles to determine which shoe has the best last for you.
Louboutin’s sling-backs are also very beautiful and sexy. They are cut similarly to the pumps therefore the same sizing and fitting issues may apply. Try them on to determine if the strap around the back of your heel fits comfortably. His flat shoes and sandals are always elegant. They are fashion forward and a viable option for those unable to wear the high-heels. So take your time and try as many styles as it takes to find the comfort zone you deserve. Yes, Christian Louboutin shoes are for everyone, but identify the shoes that will provide adequate comfort, complimentary appearance, and that fabulous style.