For the purpose of the Christian Loboutin Retrospective exhibition, Donna Loveday has arranged the shoe collections into themes specific to Louboutin’s interests.
Architecture & Landscape
‘I’m a huge fan of architects even, if for me, it’s a hellish job becasues you have people living, sleeping and eating in your designs – imagine the responsibility! Architecture is a world of line, often playing with the light and power of shadows. Architecture and shoes have many things in common – the heels play an architectural role for women as a pedestal. The heel is a column, transforming the arch of the foot much like a vault.’
‘Most people see shoes as an accessory to walk in, however some shoes are made for running…..and some shoes are made for sex.’
‘I’m a great fan of transparency, because it suggests nudity. it’s as if things were desiged directly on the body and that a layer had been removed, in this case clothing. That’s what transparency is: applying onto the body things that then become part of it, like a tattoo.’
‘For me, the front and back of a shoe evoke two different aspects of femininity. The front is about poise, allure, statue, elegance, immobility: its Marlene, always sublime from head-on, arched foot. The back is the gait, the movement, the heel: its Marilyn who, moreover, was often shown from behind.. thee are thus two types of women with regard to shoes: those who symbolise the look, and those who symbolise the walk.’
Handcrafted & Art
‘Handicraft is a common language with different forms of expression all over the world. My father was a fine cabinet maker. He used to tell me, ‘wood has a grain, and if you want to do beautiful carvings, you have to work in the direction of that grain. If you go against this, you can only expect splinters.’ For that reason, I worship handicraft and artisans. It is a school of respect.’
‘There is always something to see, including in places where you don’t expect to find anything. I try to look where othere’s don’t’
‘I started designing shoes for men more or less with the same approach as for women – thinking of performers’. In that sense, I view athletes and sportsmen as belonging to the same category of signers or magicians. All of them perform artistically, with a sense of aesthetic which is linked to their function.’
All Christian Louboutin quotes noted above are courtesy of Donna Loveday, Design Museum, London.