Fashion / Beauty

Seeing Red

Shoe impresario, beauty guru and surprising cyclist extraordinaire; is there no end to Monsieur Louboutin’s talents? Here the designer talks powerful women, the perfect Christmas gift, and what makes the Irish gal one of his favourite customers.

Your creations are sold in the most prestigious stores in the world; what makes the Brown Thomas space special for you?

When I'm designing a boutique in a country, I always like to evoke the feel of the city, and the impression it had on me. I ask myself what are the clothes of the city, who are the people, what does this city represent for me? For Dublin, it had to be warm and welcoming, like the sweeping staircase which entices you up into the space.

What is your impression of Ireland?

In Brown Thomas; I see people chatting easily with others, even strangers, exchanging views, news, gossip. It’s a friendliness which I think of as typically Irish. Ireland is a place where women will whistle at men they see on the street – I know because this happened to me on Grafton Street! The first time I visited I cycled around the beautiful Wicklow National Park and around Cork. It was exhausting but a great feeling.

You founded the label in 1991. After 26 years in the business, do you feel as though you are designing for a particular type of woman now?

I am always surprised by who wears my shoes. This is a good thing. There is no one type of woman, but the women who buy my shoes like to feel feminine. They like to express different facets of their character – they can choose to show their sexy, charming, witty or shy character through their shoe choice.

Your beauty collection has been so successful. What inspired you to create that initial nail polish?

When a woman puts on a pair of my shoes, she looks at herself – her posture, the curve of her body, and the line of her legs. The toes are the endpoint of this movement that starts with the leg. Similarly, fingernails are the endpoint of the gracious gesture that starts with the shoulders to the arms, and finally to the fingertips. A nail polish seemed like the perfect beginning to a beauty collection.

If you could choose one pair of your shoes to gift this Christmas, which one would you recommend?

Impossible for me to choose from my own collection, but if I was offering advice to someone choosing a gift I would say, don’t reject a shoe because you can’t run in it; it’s OK not to run.

What's next for the Louboutin empire?

A collaboration with a great friend of mine, Indian Couture designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee. I love India and have travelled there many times over the years, I love the vibrancy of the culture, its music and food. It continually inspires my designs.

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