Iconic designer Christian Louboutin is back in Seattle for his second trip to the Pacific Northwest. On Monday, October 17, Mr. Louboutin signed newly purchased handbags and shoes at the Nordstrom in downtown Seattle. I had the privilege of talking to him while he signed exclusive clients' shoes and prepared for the day's events.
Some people make the comment that your shoes are made to collect and considered a piece of art rather than a useful accessory. How do you respond to this?
Well I think the biggest compliment is it’s a big mix. It’s a nice compliment that what I’m doing is a really piece of art but at the same time I love to see them on. I’m very greedy on that I like both compliments mixed together. But of course it’s a compliment. I get that people say that as a compliment.
How do you make the tough decisions when you edit your shoes so quickly?
When the decision needs to be done the decision needs to be done. It’s never tough because I always take the time. There’s never a moment where I’m thinking, Okay, I have five seconds to decide on one thing. I never put myself in that type of situation. It’s not a healthy situation and when you’re in the process of doing things, it needs to be lead by pleasure and enjoying what you do. So I don’t do things like tough decisions. The thing is that it is my company and it has to do with me keeping my freedom. And if you keep your freedom when making tough decision then it’s not necessarily tough.
What are you most looking forward to on your visit here in Seattle?
I would love to go to the campus in Washington to see the Burke Museum, which is their Native American collection. But also, I would love to be on the lake there because it’s very nice. I think Seattle is quite a pedestrian city, so it’s nice to walk. Walking is the relationship that I have with Paris; I walk a lot in Paris and think that I want to do the same thing here.
You recently launched a fragrance collection. What inspired you do to this?
Well it has to do a lot with empowering women. Scents are very personal. When you work very much with intimacy, [feminine] scents are very important. I always wanted to work in beauty because I have my older sisters and they were always so emotional about beauty in a way. It’s a different way to empower women.
You’re very hands on in your approach to your company. What would you be doing if you weren’t design shoes and accessories?
There is one thing that I would love to do but I really don’t have the time is to write movies. Not necessarily to direct them...but a scriptwriter. Writing stories that would be my thing I would love to do that.
How many pairs of shoes do you own personally?
Well, I just have to say that I’m pretty much a victim of my own brand. So I have a few hundred. I have a few houses so they are divided into different places so it doesn’t look like I have so many. I have a few hundred but not more than 500 I would say. I never [get rid of] anything, not even a t-shirt, that I’m very bad, I have to say! So I end up having a lot of things. I’m very much a collector of my own things but I’m very much a collector in general. I have the...disease of collector where you never want to leave anything. This is why I have many shoes.
About a year ago you started creating wooden shoes in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Who would you say is the client for those shoes?
Well actually it’s still in the process. From here, I’m going to Bhutan to work on those shoes and some elements that work with the shoes and the bags. I think that a lot of my clients have the perception about how much a shoe is an object of desire but it’s also very much an object with a lot of detail. In the range of clients I have who are detail oriented, it’s probably those people who will like these shoes because they are very detail oriented. So people who are just a little bit like me who have a thing about collecting things actually.
What are your thoughts on Seattle?
It’s my second time visiting. So I haven’t really seen a difference. What I noticed is that a lot of people that I just met yesterday keep saying sorry for the weather. It’s funny because I really don’t mind the weather. I was born and raised in Paris and I still live in Paris and there’s one thing that we have in common with Seattle the gray coloration. Paris is not a gold coloration, it’s a gray coloration. All the roofs are made of zinc, it’s all silver. And very often the sky is actually low and very gray and the reflection of the gray on the zinc roofs is really beautiful. Seattle reminds me of Paris because of the gray coloration. It also reminds me of Deauville, which has the most beautiful light. If I think light, Deauville is the one which is by the sea in France. If I think gold, sunny light, I would think of Greece. If I think of a beautiful gray, silver gray I think Paris, Deauville, and Seattle.