Arguably the most famous shoe designer of our time, Christian Louboutin recently visited Dallas for the first time in seven years to autograph his signature red soles for throngs of well-heeled fans gathered at Neiman Marcus in NorthPark Center. (He plans to open a store in the Houston Galleria in fall 2016.)
The Paris-born stiletto master took a moment to sit down with CultureMap and impart five stylish lessons on fashion and beauty.
1. Go on with your seasonal self
Dressing in Texas is a waiting game for the temperature to dip just low enough to allow for fur-lined collars. Yet when November hits and it’s still above 70 degrees, we start to wonder, do we dress for the season or the weather?
Louboutin didn’t have to say a word to answer this question. Upon meeting the designer, his crimson wool Bella Freud sweater, which read “Into This” on the chest and “Now” on the sleeve, did all the talking. He later changed into a plaid jacket over a crisp, white button-down to greet his fans. So never mind that it could jump back up to 100 percent humidity any day now: Bust out that new suede cape and slip on a pair of Louboutin’s spiked Electroboots.
2. Trends aren’t necessarily on trend
Every fall the 12-pound fashion mags hit the shelves, each declaring a different list of styles to be the looks of the season. Boyfriend jeans! Velvet everything! So what does Louboutin have to say about fall trends? He appreciates the concept of individuality more than anything.
“You have the trend, then you have the opposite of the same trend, and so it goes from one thing to the other,” he says. “I think that people can just do whatever they want. You just have to go in the direction of it fits you and it looks good on you.”
3. There is one thing in particular you should never wear
If following trends is futile, is there such a thing as a fashion faux pas? Louboutin considers the question before unleashing on a specific type of footwear.
“I don’t like clogs. I really do not like clogs. I just don’t like the sound of it, and it doesn’t give you a nice way to walk,” he says, before adding flattering, sexy, and beautiful to the list of things that clogs are definitely not. Louboutin instead recommends his collection of nude shoes to enhance a feminine silhouette and embellished pumps (such as the chain-bedecked Dollyparty pair) for a more festive feel.
4. Go nude down there
The Christian Louboutin empire also encompasses a beauty line with lipsticks and nail polishes packaged in tubes and bottles that mimic the spike of his stilettos. When it comes to color choices, Louboutin explains, it may have more to do with your locale. For example, go for classic red when flying to Paris, “but if you go to Florida, the light is so different, you may go on the pink side.”
In his years of styling high-fashion tootsies, Louboutin has learned a thing or two about pedicure polish. “If you add a strong color, the toenail looks even smaller, so use a natural color, the skin color, to elongate the nail,” he says.
5. Country music is actually fashionable — sort of
Sound, says Louboutin, is a critical part of his creative process. “I add music to be in a specific type of mood or I get rid of it to concentrate,” he says. Louboutin designs during the day and listens to anything from opera to disco to Motown to Egyptian music — whatever reflects the feel of the shoe he is sketching at that time.
In fact, he admits to playing a lot of country music recently, while working on Western-inspired shoes, and he begins to sing, “a hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles.” It’s more likely his tune is the folk song made famous by Peter, Paul and Mary in the 1960s, but we’re charmed by his attempt to appeal to us Texas folk nonetheless.