In conversation with Christian Louboutin

In conversation with Christian Louboutin

Shoe designer's Dubai talk

Text: Shannon Wylie

The shoe designer talks candidly about why Egypt is an inspiration, why Dubai women are beautiful and how the colour of love can build an empire...

"I do like flat shoes too," starts Christian Louboutin as he sits down in the world's largest mall to discuss just that, shoes. The designer who is synonymous for his red soles is in the city as part of the Vogue Dubai Fashion Experience and he's nothing but charming.

Christian Louboutin shoes
"I remember taking the plane to America when I was younger and I was sitting next to this woman. She said 'I'm half Saudi, half American'," this it seems was the precursor to Louboutin's life as a shoe designer. "She said my bible is Vogue and it made me realise I didn't read fashion." This is a moment that spurred the designer to look for inspiration. Then, he says: "It was my sister who had great legs, that became my first family inspiration." Women in Dubai too seem to have captivated the French designer...

"Women in Dubai are very detail oriented. They look at things in a very specific way. They are very feminine, which is a very beautiful thing."Now his design inspiration starts at the drawing board. "For me it all starts with a drawing. Building a collection is like building a big family. I go to a place that I know and I stay there for two or three weeks and I design the summer collection in a hot place. For instance I go to Egypt. I'm very influenced by the climate."

Now Louboutin is determined to break the shoe mold with his forray into beauty. "I started to design my shoes 23 years ago but for some reason beauty has always interested me. I could see the relationship between beauty and shoes." Over the past four years the French designer has worked to create a line that would compliment his must-have shoe collection. "The nail polish launched a year ago and now the lipstick."

Christian Louboutin nail polish
Christian Louboutin has built his empire one step at a time, organically for 23 years. But his signature has and always will remain deeply etched into the red sole of his shoes. "A trademark is your identity. You fight for your identity," said the designer.

"There is something in red which is quite different from the other colours. In '92 I had my first show and I started the red soles in '93. Women would come in and say I don't wear colour but their lips were red and their nails were red. So it was a way to inject colour for people who don't like colour. It's the colour of love."

Christian Louboutin is sold across the Middle East.