Christian Louboutin Exhibition Inspires and Thrills
“There is always something to see including places where you don’t expect to find anything. I try to look where others don’t.” - Christian Louboutin
The sole of a shoe is plausibly an afterthought of the overall shoe construction; more of support than a design staple, but the bright pillar-box red soles of high heel patent court shoe have now become a trademark of Christian Louboutin.
The Design Museum has created a retrospective of the Louboutin arsenal to celebrate the man who is more than just a red sole but the man behind some of fashion’s most classic and artisanal creations.
Go to the exhibition to revel in the set design as well as the shoes - the gallery space is cleverly transformed into moments in time of the Louboutin heel including cabaret, fetish, state garden, fashion film, and workshop.
Taking inspiration from Foiles Bergere in Paris as a young boy sketching shoes for the showgirls, the exhibition starts with a shadow theatre leading in to a carousel of shoes on twirling cushioned pedestals.
“If there was to be just only one fetish element in a woman’s wardrobe, I think it would have to be her shoes, even without being stilettos.” - Christian Louboutin
The idea of fetish and how Louboutin was introduced in to that genre is hidden behind a velvet curtain - the mesh corridors guide you through images of nudity and voyeurism, yet the gaze is still on the shoe.
The impossibly steep heels including the jewel encrusted ballerina pumps designed by Louboutin for the Royal Ballet are encased in glass bell jars, of course you are not allowed to touch the shoes in the exhibition but this element adds to the idea that Louboutin’s shoes don’t even need to be worn to be admired. The Dita Von Teese hologram is located inside the fetish maze but she is coy appearing every 30 minutes for about four minutes.
“Ninety nine per cent of my shoes start with a drawing. The complicated but very important thing is to remain as faithful as possible to the original design.” - Christian Louboutin
From the original drawings, inspiration and the finished article you are being invited in to the Christian Louboutin workshop, his ideas, and how they come to fruition.
The Design Museum has really outdone itself in what is effectively an exhibition about what we put on feet, but the displays match the pure class of the designer.
Christian Louboutin is on at the Design Museum until the July 9
Images: Luke Hayes