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Painting the town red | Business Line

Painting the town red Pradipti Jayaram Share   ·   Comment   ·   print   ·   Tweet

Christian Louboutin is not only a brand synonymous with style, status and luxury but also with providing women a sense of “psychological empowerment”

christian louboutin “Watch me walk it out/I’m throwing on my Louboutins,” crooned Jennifer Lopez as she descended a fleet of spiral stairs built into a 20-feet tall, giant installation of a bejewelled Christian Louboutin stiletto with its trademark red soles, at the 2009 Season 6 finale of So You Think You Can Dance , the US reality TV show. Two things stand out in the song: Its theme, centred on a woman who’s fed up of being mistreated in a relationship and has decided to walk out of it, and the fact that she does so in her Louboutins.

cheap christian louboutin By invoking the brand and naming a song after it, Lopez, aside from inadvertently endorsing the Christian Louboutin shoe and cementing its status as a cultural phenomenon, also ends up projecting the shoe as a vehicle of empowerment.

cheap christian louboutin And that’s how powerful brand Christian Louboutin has come to be. Not only is it synonymous with style, status and luxury but also with providing women a sense of “psychological empowerment”.

cheap christian louboutin A certain discomfort “Louboutins epitomise high fashion. They are unapologetic about being uncomfortable and their main aim is to create for women an image of being larger than life,” says Asmita Aggarwal, Consulting Editor, L’Officiel . “With my pair of Louboutins on, I tower over most men, I feel extremely confident, and there’s a sense that I can take over the world. For a 5.4” woman, that’s symbolic of empowerment,” says Keerti Kataria, a communications manager for a popular fashion brand.

christian louboutin outlet Louboutin sells more than 500,000 pairs of shoes a year, at prices ranging from $400 to $6,000 for a crystal-encrusted pair. And his retail sales exceeded $250 million in 2010, according to interview features in the New Yorker and Elle . “Louboutin has a pulse on the market, he knows what women want before they know themselves. For instance, his entire nude range of shoes aims to cater to all kinds of skin colours/shades instead of just the standard three or four shades,” says fashion columnist, Sujata Assomull Sippy. This makes the shoe feel more custom-fit than others. “He’s also got the foresight to adapt and localise his designs while staying true to the ‘Louboutin’ philosoply,” Assomull adds. In keeping with local demands, Louboutin in 2014 launched the brand’s first Wedding Suite in Mumbai, India. Sensing how important weddings were in India, and how big the bridal couture market was, Louboutin came up with a bespoke service which offered customers an opportunity to play a role in designing shoes to go with their trousseau.

cheap christian louboutin The customer can select fabric, heel height and style to match her wardrobe for the event. The shoes will then be handcrafted in the brand’s atelier in Paris. Likewise, a unique service offered by Louboutin is the Tattoo Parlour, introduced in 2013, where customers could have digital photos taken of their tattoos and have them embroidered onto their Louboutins.

According to a press release issued by the Luxury Institute, Louboutin earned the top spot in its Luxury Brand Status Index for three consecutive years 2007, 2008 and 2009.

In 2011 the Digital Luxury group deemed it the most searched-for shoe brand online in the Shoe Heritage category (brands with original focus on shoes, even if they have since expanded beyond). In 2003, Louboutin ventured into designing handbags and purses, his first brand extension, and as recently as 2011, Louboutin launched a collection of men’s footwear sold out of its stores in Paris, Los Angeles and New York.

Objects of desire According to information collated from the Internet, while Christian’s fascination with shoes began at an early age, his initiation into the industry happened with an internship at Charles Jourdan and through subsequent freelance opportunities for various design houses such as Maud Frison, Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent.  

In 1992, Christian and two other friends came together as business associates to form Christian Louboutin, the company. They began selling from a boutique in the Vero-Dodat Gallerie, a historical area located close to the Palais Royal, Paris, France. Among his first customers were Princess Caroline of Monaco and actress Catherine Deneuve.

Today, the brand has over 56 stores across the globe and has earned the patronage of international A-listers such as Madonna, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Closer home, celebrities such as Priyanka Chopra, Sonam Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi are frequently photographed in the media donning a pair of “loubies”.

Just what is it about them that makes them such objects of desire? “The shoes’ aesthetic appeal: their structure, impeccable craftsmanship and embellishments make them opulent,” says Kataria.

For Shahin Ansari, who owns Malgaadistore, a luxury boutique in Chennai, apart from being status symbols, luxury goods have a lot to do with how they make the owner feel. “A pair of Louboutins exudes sex appeal, glamour and luxury, and the red sole is distinct and memorable,” she says.

“His red sole is a wonderful marketing tool,” says columnist Assomull. “He took a part of the shoe, till now ignored, and made it his trademark,” adds Kataria. “Louboutins make an understated style statement despite being over the top. The brand name isn’t plastered all over the product, yet, they are recognisable,” says Neethi Nair, Director, Marketing, of branding and design consultancy Smitten, India. She hopes to buy a pair soon. According to L’Officiel’s Aggarwal, “Fashion is closely linked with status symbol. While the watch is a barometer of a man’s success, the same can be said for shoes and women.”

Luxury Class tracks the evolution of the world’s leading luxury brands.

(This article was published on June 12, 2014) Related TOPICS advertising and marketing | branding and design | marketing | business (general) | strategy | process industry | leather | What's this? X These are links to The Hindu Business Line suggested by Outbrain, which may or may not be relevant to the other content on this page. You can read Outbrain's privacy and cookie policy here. What's this? X These are paid-for links provided by Outbrain, and may or may not be relevant to the other content on this page. To find out more information about driving traffic to your content or to place this widget on your site, visit You can read Outbrain's privacy and cookie policy here. Tweet Please Wait while comments are loading... This article is closed for comments. Please Email the Editor