The Exhibitionist – Christian Louboutin

Louboutin’s trademark towering stiletto heels

Le Palais de la Porte Dorée is an iconic example of Art Déco architecture, the only one of its kind in Paris. The building is listed as a historical monument and underwent complete renovation in 2007 to accommodate the National Museum of Immigration History and the Tropical Aquarium.

The museum is currently hosting an exhibition dedicated to the ground-breaking work and vivid imagination of the man behind the much lauded and often copied red-lacquered soles, Christian Louboutin. Perhaps he drew inspiration from a tradition that originated with Louis XIV. It is said that the king went to dinner in the market district of Les Halles in Paris and returned with his heels soaked in cow’s blood. He made a fashion of it, and required nobility at the Court of Versailles to wear red soles until the revolution broke out. But back then, the heels were nowhere near as high as Louboutin’s designs – which in some models reach a staggering 15 cm! Legend has it that he used his assistant’s red Chanel nail varnish when designing a new range of pumps, and he hasn’t looked back since.

His first spark of inspiration came when he saw a straightforward symbol on a sign forbidding ladies from wearing high-heeled shoes, as they might damage the wooden flooring, when he visited an exhibition at the National Museum of African and Oceanic Arts (then at the Palais de la Porte Dorée).

The current exhibition doesn’t offer a classic look back over Louboutin’s life work, rather it is a journey through 30 years of design where visitors will be able to admire around 100 shoe designs along with some exceptional works of art and collaborations with contemporary artists, such as Jean-Paul Gautier and Yves Saint Laurent, who Louboutin was inspired by and appreciated.

His new sneaker, “Loubishark”, is already a must-have among stars the world over.

We enjoyed a tour with a wonderful guide who made the exhibition all the more interesting with her insightful and encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject. It’s safe to say we were all under her charm!

This stunning exhibition is a must see, so head straight for la Porte Dorée as soon as lockdown is lifted, as the museum is shut until then.

By Nicole Daunas - Fashion world