TEXT BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI
The must-visit exhibition in Paris illustrates Louboutin’s creative inspirations and greatest hits.
Christian Louboutin is going back to where it all started.
Today, the famous shoe designer is opening the doors to the largest ever exhibition of his work at the Palais de la Porte Dorée museum, located in his childhood neighbourhood, in Paris’ 12th arrondisement.
That’s where a young Christian Louboutin first discovered his fascination for art and foreign cultures —and came up with the design for his famous Pigalle shoes. During an early visit to the museum, the designer spotted a ‘no high heels’ sign, forbidding visitors from wearing heels inside. He was fascinated by the illustration of the high heel and it gave him license to start sketching himself.
It made me realise that you can design something that doesn’t exist, so that’s how I began designing my own shoes,” he said during a press conference.
Now, a similar sign sits at the entrance of the exhibition, dubbed ‘L’Exhibition[niste].
From there on, you’re invited to go through 11 different rooms, each designed with a different theme, and immerse yourself into Louboutin’s world, which comes complete with plenty of shoes, but also art from his personal collection, a hologram of Dita von Teese, sculptures and photography by David Lynch which illustrates the fetishistic side of the designer’s work.
The idea is to showcase the Louboutin universe and everything that inspires the designer, side-by-side with his best work.
There’s an atelier room with videos explaining the craft behind making the brand’s crystal-embellished pumps; an installation by British artists Whitaker/Malem featuring nude mannequins in different skin tones and spotlighting the brand’s ‘Nudes’ collection; and a darkened room featuring bespoke stained-glass windows that surround some of his early sketches and designs, including a pair of flats made for Princess Diana.
Ahead of the public opening, Louboutin covered the museum with a red carpet and invited some of his famous friends – including Janelle Monae, Karlie Kloss, Rossy de Palma and Diane von Furstenberg – to ignore the ‘no high heels’ rule and join him to toast the opening, which added a more up-beat, celebratory mood to the season.
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