Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Louboutins overtake Manolos as the Hot Shoe


Which is good, because I have a pair of Louboutins - jewelled velvet wedges I got for half price at a Vogue sample sale.

But perhaps the key to his current success (he’s overtaken St Manolo as aspirational shoe god, for heaven’s sake) is those red soles. Louboutin claims these happened serendipitously. “When the first prototype arrived, it had a big black sole. Dead!” He grabbed his assistant’s nail polish and began painting. “Immediately, the shoe came back to life.’’ He thought he would change the sole each season. “But red is more than a colour. It is a symbol of love, of blood, of passion. It’s like the handkerchief that an elegant woman dropped if she saw a man whom she was attracted to.”

It’s also highly visible, in a way no business school graduate would ever imagine. Every time a woman climbs a staircase, crosses her legs, click-clacks down the street, it flashes away, a symbol – never mind blood, passion and love – of a shoe that cost a fortune. When a model mooches down the catwalk in Louboutins, the audience identifies them immediately. No wonder he eschews obvious logos: that red sole is genius – a status symbol that purports not to be a status symbol.



12 comments:

Mardel said...

I can understand the popularity of Louboutins over Manolos, as the Louboutin is much more obvious a statement of luxury. I will continue to prefer the Manolos as they happen to be built in a way that fits my foot perfectly (on the narrow side of medium but not narrow) and there is a wider assortment of heel heights. And although I love a gorgeous shoe, I would prefer that it would be one I can actually stand in, and perhaps walk a little ways as well.

Anonymous said...

Loubies are rather tarty, sorry to say. It seems that women want obvious these days and he gives it. It's the red sole and the too high heels that are the attraction and precisely what makes them look cheap. I just wonder why women don't save their money and buy stripper shoes then paint the bottoms cuz the effect is the same.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Sounds not totally unlike "lobotomy", and the heel could certainly used to perform one. Oy vey.

Duchesse said...

I have always wondered: Does the red stay RED or wear off after repeated treks on pavement? Please enlighten me.

Diana Vreeland had the soles of her shoes re-painted (though not red) by her maid after each wearing.

Arabella said...

The life story of Diana Vreeland's maid - now that's a biography I'd like to read.

Always In Style said...

As a shoe freak I love them both - but nothing will ever replace Mr. Blahnik's classy style in my eyes.

FoxyRoxy said...

These shoes are hot

Anonymous said...

Manolo's collections are getting better lately. The shoes seemed to be stuck in the 90'2 in terms of cutting edge design and silouette. As with any European shoe designer, every shoe doesn't fit every foot. I've tried many Manolos that made my foot look awkward. I have several pairs of Louboutins, and each time I wear a pair they are guaranteed showstoppers. If you've never found a style that works for you, you wouldn't understand. And for the record,many of the Louboutin styles are available in a wide range of heel heights- just like Manolos. T'he ones that tend to be photographed the most are the sky high versions, because they're the most dramatic. I had my cobbler put red rubber soles on mine, so yes, they'll be red for eternity.

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