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July 31, 2013 12:04 pm Photographed by

Christian Louboutin

By MOAM Staff

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Born in Paris in 1963, this high-heel designer slipped into the shoe business after seeing a sign that prevented women from wearing stilettos in the African and Oceanic Museum of Art. The image of the dramatic pair of heels on the sign influenced him, and he later used that image as inspiration for his own sketches.

Louboutin often skipped school to peruse flea markets or attend cabaret shows, and when he was kicked out of school at 16, he started to work with the prominent Parisian cabaret, Folies Bergère, where he had the opportunity to make shoes for the dancers. He landed a job in 1980 with famed shoe designer, Charles Jourdan. Over the next three years, he freelanced for fashion houses Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel. He also spent time working with Roger Vivier. His experiences with Jourdan and Vivier helped equip him with the necessary tools to launch a successful brand under his own name. He opened his premier store in Paris in 1991 and he quickly became a favorite of celebrities and illustrious public figures.

His first admirers and customers included Princess Caroline of Monaco and Madonna. He has revamped the stiletto with a flair for sexiness and poise. Known for his exoticism and design details that feature feathers, bows, jeweled straps and whimsical prints, his most recognizable emblem, is the “Sammy red” sole of every heel.

Louboutin deciding to add the red sole — at the last second using red nail polish — as a statement for one of his seasonal collections, and kept the color as his customers continued to request it. Louboutin became a household name thanks to references in popular culture and continued to expand his brand, opened his first U.S. store in 1993 in New York City’s Upper East Side. 10 years later, he ventured into designing handbags to complement his legendary shoes.

Men were able to purchase red-soled shoes in 2011, when he launched his first men’s collection. The same year, the shoe designer was caught up in a red clash with Yves Saint Laurent (Saint Laurent Paris). Trademarking his signature red-soled shoes back in 2008, he filed a lawsuit against YSL for trademark infringement after a red-soled shoe appeared in its cruise collection.

In 2012, the judge ruled in Louboutin’s favor as exclusive owner to the rights of the red-soled shoe, and YSL could continue to sell shoes with red soles as long as the rest of the shoe was made in the same color. The Louboutin brand is nowhere close to losing its stomping speed, as of now the luxury brand has more than 42 boutiques worldwide and sells 600,000 shoes annually. Taking a stab at the beauty world, he has teamed up with Batallure Beauty LLC to launch Christian Louboutin Beauté set to be released sometime in 2013.

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