Christian Louboutin won’t be taking home any end-of-career awards any time soon.
That was the message from the star designer Wednesday night upon accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2022 Footwear New Achievement Awards (FNAAs) in New York.
Instead, the designer renamed the award the “Great Life Achievement Awards,” acknowledging that there is still plenty of work to be done after receiving the major milestone after more than 30 years running his high-powered footwear brand.
“I was questioning myself on the meaning of a Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Louboutin onstage. “To have achieved is very different to be achieved, in French. To be achieved means that somehow you are almost dead and someone needs to finish you off. And if you add the word ‘lifetime’ it seems like you are done with your work, at home watching Netlix.”
“Let me tell you, I am not ready for that,” the designer continued. “So this lifetime achievement award can wait. And maybe it could be renamed as the great time achievement awards. Then I’m ready to accept. Yes, I’m accepting that one.”
The designer took time to reminisce on launching his brand, recalling his October 21, 1991 opening date of his first boutique in Paris. “My little venture in our industry still seems for me to have started just yesterday. The love for my work and the enthusiasm that carries me everyday is reactivated, as if it was my first day when I opened my first store. A successful journey was never my goal. My goal was and always is to lead a beautiful journey, by doing what I love and believing in the fact that love carries so many positive values and if you let yourself be carried by them, your life will be a beautiful one. In those terms and only in those terms I can assume to have the beginning of a beautiful lifetime journey, thanks to love, thanks to my passion and thanks to you all.”
Onstage with Louboutin was actor Idris Elba, who presented the award and has collaborated with the designer on the “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” capsule. “It’s kind of awkward giving a lifetime achievement award to someone that is still killing the game,” the actor joked onstage.
Louboutin’s proximity to celebrity has certainly helped keep his name in the pop culture lexicon. A steady flow of red-carpet moments and new cameos in TV and film has ensured that the brand remains relevant, especially to a younger audience. But it’s not just about youth or the zeitgeist. For the designer, there is an inherent showmanship, a love of performance, theater and art. And a sense of optimism for the future.
“I’m not nostalgic. For some reason, I have just always loved every step of the way, every period that I had,” Louboutin told FN during his cover shoot interview to honor the occasion.
For 36 years, the annual FN Achievement Awards — often called the “Shoe Oscars” — have celebrated the style stars, best brand stories, ardent philanthropists, emerging talents and industry veterans. The 2022 event is supported by presenting sponsor Nordstrom, as well as Caleres, FDRA, Merrell, Vibram and Volumental.