In His Words: Christian Louboutin on the Competition, Parisian Women and Why Businesses Fail

Christian Loubutin, the star of our cover story this week, has ruled the shoe scene for more than two decades.

Here, he weighs in on inspirations, the allure of Parisian women and the increase in competition.
“Travel has always been a big [inspiration], but I’m trying to have it be less formal. It’s not suddenly you go to Peru and your entire collection is about the Incas. As a designer, I don’t think the world of your new collection should be fully revolved around what has been new to you.”

Parisian women:
“A Parisian isn’t head to toe in a designer. That does not exist in France. When I arrived in New York in the 1980s, women were all dressed in Chanel or Armani, head to toe. But a Parisian is someone who is confident enough to pick up the best jacket from a brand and pair it with a great skirt that somebody else is doing really well.”

His love of landscaping:
“I have more pleasure seeing a fantastic landscape than seeing nature in general. I like the idea that human beings are in charge of everything. I don’t believe in God on a cloud judging everything. For me, there’s a bigger form of spirituality inside of yourself.”

Christian Louboutin’s fall ’17 men’s collection.

The industry today:
“When you see the most successful businesses, it is due to the respect of the vision of the designer. I’ve been asked several times to be the head of a fashion house. I said, ‘You must be crazy. I’ve never designed clothes.’ There are so many people that have talent. Don’t take someone who doesn’t have talent.”

Alluring design:
“A shoe that’s thin and quite delicately shaped can never look good on everyone. It’s a bit nondemocratic for all the feet. You have to ask yourself, ‘Do you want to put more shoes on more feet, or do you want 
to have them look good?’ I’m on the side of looking good.”

Christian Louboutin Fall 2017
Christian Louboutin’s fall ’17 men’s collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy

Rising competition:
When you are a clothes designer, you often take [shoes] as an accessory. To me, because it’s my job, I never thought of it as a side business. I don’t see how it could be. It’s very time-consuming,
if you want to do it well.”

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