Christian Louboutin, French shoe designer, was born in Paris 1964. His iconic element is the high-end stiletto, with the red sole.

Christian Louboutin, designer of the world’s most iconic red sole stiletto.


  1. Young Rebel
  2. The Launch
  3. Louboutin Red
  4. Brand Expansion
  5. Current Situation

Young Rebel

Christian Louboutin, French shoe designer, was born in Paris 1964. His iconic element is the high-end stiletto, with the red sole. At the age of 12 his true fascination with shoes began when he visited the Musée National des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie, where he saw a sign forbidding women wearing sharp stilettos from entering a building, for fear of damage to the wood flooring. This image inspired his work.

Christian expresses, “I wanted to create something that broke rules and made women feel confident and empowered.”

He studied drawing and decorative arts at the Académie d’Art Roederer. In his teens he left for Egypt, and spent a year in India. After this he came back to Paris in 1981. He created a portfolio full of his extravagant high heel drawings and sent it to the top fashion houses. This was a success, and he was hired by Charles Jourdan, one of the most respected shoemakers in Paris. Through his work with Jourdan, he met Roger Vivier, who claimed to have invented the stiletto, and they started a long and meaningful collaboration. Also, he freelanced for Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Christian Louboutin. A portrait of the designer.
A portrait of the shoe designer.

The Launch

In the late 80’s he left fashion, became a landscape gardener, and contributed to Vogue Paris. This only lasted a few years before he started to miss working with shoes, and decided to launch his company in 1991. His first collection was presented in 1991, then in 1992 he opened a boutique on Rue Rousseau in Paris. Princess Caroline of Monaco was his first customer. She complemented the store when a journalist was present and he published her comments, which helped Louboutin gain recognition. After this, clients such as Diane Von FurstenbergMadonna, Nicole Kidman, Cher, and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy soon followed.

Louboutin Red

The Louboutin signature is the red sole, first created in 1993. He claimed he was trying to liven up the design of his shoes, when he “spontaneously grabbed his assistants red nail polish and started painting the sole red.” He exclaimed, “I instantly knew that it would be a success.” Through the 90’s and 2000’s Louboutin brought back the popularity of the stiletto, and in 1998 he received the Fashion Footwear Association of New York Award for the best shoe designer of the year.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Christian Louboutin. Iconic Red Sole Stiletto.
Iconic Red Sole Stiletto.

Brand Expansion

In 2003 he extended outside of shoes and launched his first collection of handbags. Then, in 2011 he launched his first men’s line.

Since the brand’s launch, Christian Louboutin’s creations have been immortalized in museums, on fashion week runways, red carpets, and in pop culture around the world. A woman’s natural beauty has always been at the center of the designer’s inspiration. 2014 welcomed the launch of Christian Louboutin Beauté with its first nail polish, Rouge Louboutin, accompanied by a full range of Noirs, Nudes and Pop colors. The brand’s highly anticipated ‘second chapter’ of beauty, lipstick, launched in September 2015, followed by three signature Christian Louboutin fragrances in September 2016 and a striking collection of eye amplifiers, Les Yeux Noirs, in March 2017.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Christian Louboutin. The Beauty Collection: Lipstick, Nail Polish, and Perfume.
The Beauty Collection: Lipstick, Nail Polish, and Perfume.

Current Situation

With a prolific collection of women’s and men’s shoes, day and evening handbags, and small leather goods Christian Louboutin now counts more than one hundred boutiques around the world. Also, there are several locations dedicated to men’s and a one-of-a-kind beauty boutique located in the heart of Paris’ 1st arrondisment, just two doors away from 19 Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Christian Louboutin. Flagship Store in Paris.
Flagship Store in Paris.





L’Altra Moda

Company of womenswear. It has been operating since 1991 when it was founded to impose quality scheduling on the delivery times of prêt-à-porter. The brand, which produces a second line called Compagnia Italiana, is distributed internationally through own-brand stores, franchises, shops-in-shops, and multibrand shops. The annual turnover in 1998-1999 was over 30 million dollars.
&Quad;2002. Product value totalled €45,768,061, an increase of 4.5%, with a profit of €1,484,637 made outside Italy.

L’Art et La Mode

French magazine founded in 1880 with the subtitle “Magazine of elegance,” but which closed in 1967. This periodical was the first to publish an advertising fashion image. During the 1920s the subtitle was changed to: “Magazine of jet set life.” With black-and-white illustrations and colored drawings, the monthly discussed and illustrated the latest fashion trends, followed cultural life in Paris, reported on social events, literature and theater. From the late 1940s, it became the official voice of French haute couture.


Parisian boutique. The creators of this famous boutique are Martine and Armand Halida, who offer typically French brands to their predominantly Arab clientele. The shop, which opened in the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in January 1980, only measured 23.4 square yards but immediately became a reference point for fashion and the first boutique in town to sell Timberland shoes. In 1990 the shop moved to Rue des Rosiers, in the heart of the fashion neighborhood of Marais. They not only sold clothing, but also accessories, design objects, and furniture, and in 2000 opened a space dedicated to menswear. In January 2003 Hadida launched the felt sculptures of the young artist Cyprien Chabert in a new space at the Palais Royal, which he had inaugurated with the erotic drawings of Piero Fornasetti. At present the Hadida family is engaged in new projects which include exhibitions and events linked to gastronomy.


JérÂme (1958). French designer. After working for Balmain, Givenchy, Shimada, and Lapidus, in 1990 he presented his own griffe. In 1992 he designed a make-up line for Shiseido and in 1993-94 he was responsible for the Unanyme line by Georges Rech.

L’Officiel de la Couture et de la Mode de Paris

A sophisticated French monthly founded in 1921 in Paris by Max Brunhes, that used the best photographers of the time to present the haute couture collections in its pages. The magazine’s main photographer from 1934 was Philippe Portier: he was the first to take photographs of clothes in the street, historical buildings, castles, or luxury hotels. At the start of the war and the Nazi occupation, the magazine interrupted publication until 1941, when it restarted with the collaboration of the couturier Lucien Lelong. In the 1950s, it added a column dedicated to fabrics and to the trends being followed by the great maisons, from Rodier and Ducharne to Bianchini Férrier, and sections were introduced dedicated to beauty, a horoscope, and news items. Since 1971 the magazine has been edited by a company: l’Officiel de la Couture.


French cosmetic group, the world’s largest. Established in 1907 by the chemist Eugène Schueller, the brand made its début in the hair products sector for professional use. Over the years, the group expanded its activity to cover all market segments (perfumes, treatments, make-up). As a partial result of large acquisitions that foster research and new products, the group today offers a unique combination of over 500 brands, ranging from the highest quality to the mass distribution brands, making a total of 80,000 products and about 200 new articles launched every year. Almost 5% of turnover is allocated to research. In Italy, L’Oréal has four companies: L’Oréal Saipo, Parfums et Beauté, Helena Rubinstein, and Cosmétique Active. The majority shareholder is still the Bettencourt Gesparal family, descendants of the founder.
&Quad;1999. Turnover grew 12%.
&Quad;2000, March. The French giant announced the acquisition of the American group Carson (turnover: 380 million dollars), which specializes in ethnic cosmetics and the African markets, in which it makes 25% of its turnover. The purpose of the acquisition was to give L’Oréal better penetration of these markets.
&Quad;2000. Acquisition of two companies: Scandinavian Respons and 35% of the Japanese Shu Uemura.
&Quad;2001. L’Oréal Italy, the group’s Italian holding, closed 2001 with a turnover of 878.3 million euros, +6.3% on 2000.
&Quad;2002. The balance sheet had a consolidated turnover of 14.3 billion euros, +8.9 millions compared to 2001. The group has more than 48,000 collaborators and sells in 150 countries. These results are greatly due to the sales boom in China (+61%), where the distribution network was strengthened and, above all, a new production plant was under construction. Active since 1908, L’Oréal Italy is the third largest cosmetics company in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. A new production center is to be built in Milan, which will support the long established Turin plant.
&Quad;2005, April. The actress Eva Longoria signed a contract with L’Oréal Paris to become the brand’s new “face”.
&Quad;2005, May. The group announced the acquisition of Texan SkinCeuticals, a company which distributes its cosmetic products to dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and high level spas. The group’s target is to integrate the company into its cosmeceutics division.