Christian Louboutin was in New York on Monday to unveil his newly renovated Madison Avenue store, an eye-catching space full of the intricate details and dramatic touches the designer loves.
The boutique — which, at almost 9,000 square feet, is almost double the size of the previous shop — features two distinct spaces for men’s and women’s shoes, plus separate areas for his growing bag and beauty collections.
The left side of the store displays the women’s assortment. The carpet is the label’s signature red, and arched displays showcase the shoes like jewels. In one corner, a cityscape-like Loubiville beauty structure spotlights nail lacquers, while handbags are shown against two curved walls with custom leather tiles inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings.
The unique men’s space, which has charcoal gray carpet, adjoins the women’s area via vintage wrought-iron gates the designer found during a trip to Austria. Just opposite the gates, a leather display wall features embroidered diamond-shaped patterns. Diamond-shaped mirrors also accent the space.
The designer, fresh off a trip to Dubai for “The Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience,” sat down with Footwear News minutes before greeting top customers at a private party inside the new digs.
FN: Was it difficult to divide the store into two distinct spaces for men and women?
“The complicated issue was how to link the two spaces. They needed to be separate, but still live together. At the very beginning, the idea was to have the women to be able to be [peeping Toms] and see the men through a one-sided mirror. It didn’t really work. I thought everyone should mingle together and still have their proper places. For me, the store is nice because it’s the first one incorporating beauty, women’s and men’s.”
FN: I love all the personal touches, like the iron gates and the masks on the walls.
“I’m always buying and collecting things. I got the masks in Mexico. They weren’t necessarily for a specific place. When things make sense, they make sense.
FN: You’re about to meet dozens of your top customers at a special event here. Do you enjoy that part of your job?
“It’s nice meeting people who like what you do. I couldn’t do it often — it’s exhausting, because it requires a lot of attention. In general, people are very nice. It’s celebrating my store, my customer and the people working with me.”
FN: It’s been a few months since you launched lipstick. How has that been received?”
“Today, I heard we’ve sold more than 100,000 of the lipsticks! It’s been great because beauty started after the 20th anniversary. It reminded me of the very first steps of the company. Beauty took me three years — we thought it would take one — and I don’t regret it. It has to be done in a beautiful way. Otherwise, why do it?”
FN: You just arrived in New York from Dubai Fashion Week. What do you like about Dubai?
“It’s almost like California. People are driving everywhere. Women love their high heels. The food is delicious. It’s a bit like Las Vegas, but it’s better built.”
FN: Where are you off to next?
“I go to Dallas tomorrow and then Los Angeles. I’m taking my driving test in L.A. I’m excited! I’ve never had a license.”
FN: Have you been studying?
FN: Any other big plans in the works?
“I’m going to the Evening Standard Awards in London. After that, I go to Calcutta to see embroidery with the most fantastic Indian designer, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, [whom Louboutin is collaborating with]. Then I go back to Paris, and then we have a big event in Thailand. I will spend Christmas there.”
Click through the gallery to explore the new Louboutin Madison Ave.