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The True Story Of How Christian Louboutin Shoes Got Those Trademark Red Soles

Christian Louboutin has been credited with making women's legs look longer, creating celebrity high heel frenzies, inspiring serious lust and temporary credit card insanity in fashion editors like me, and perhaps most importantly, turning the once-overlooked sole of a shoe into a bona fide status symbol. So just how did his highly coveted cherry red soles come to be?

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This week's New Yorker has a funny and very telling profile on the shoe designer, and nestled among the many incredible anecdotes (a few of my favorites: He owns a 13th century castle where a taxidermy boar wearing a gold crown also resides; he once custom-made a pair of shoes with real ruby soles for a private client) is the story of how those red bottoms became his signature.

Back in 1993 when he had been in business for about two years, "Louboutin had thought of making a shoe inspired by Andy Warhol's 'Flowers.' The prototype, a pink stacked heel with a cartoonish cloth blossom, had arrived from Italy. 'I was very happy, because it was similar to the drawing,' Louboutin recalled, 'but the drawing still was stronger and I could not understand why.' Louboutin continued, 'There was this big black sole, and then, thank God, there was this girl painting her nails at the time.' Louboutin grabbed the nail polish—it was red—from the assistant and slathered it on the sole of the prototype. 'Then it popped,' he recalled, 'and I thought, This is the drawing!'"

Funny how a business worth a global fortune gained its footing, so to speak, with something as teeny tiny as a bottle of nail polish, huh? Isn't it amazing how those flashy soles really do make the shoes pop? As Louboutin tells it, "Men are like bulls. They cannot resist the red sole," and yet if it hadn't been for an assistant painting her nails at that exact moment, they might never have been a part of the signature Louboutin style! What do you gals think of this story? Kinda cool, huh? Discuss!

PLUS...

  • The next best thing to stilts? Christian Louboutin Daffodile pumps (celebs are obsessed!)

  • What one item would you bring to a desert island? Heidi Klum chose...

  • Kourtney Kardashian's latest obsession: The Louboutin Sweet Charity handbag

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HOW TO CARE FOR LOUBOUTIN SHOES

How To Care For Louboutin Shoes SHOP CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN
Often seen on the runway and the red carpet, Louboutin shoes are as coveted by the fashion and street style elite as they are by Hollywood royalty. From classically feminine to over-the-top edgy, Christian Louboutin’s expertly crafted designs are investment-worthy pieces that are consistently in high demand. And investments deserve to be protected. Treating your Louboutins with care will maximize their longevity, as well as their resale value if the time comes to consign and invest in a new pair. For advice, we turned to our Senior Director of Authentication, Graham Wetzbarger. A Christian Louboutin expert, not only can he spot the signs of authentic Louboutin shoes, he knows the best ways to keep them in top condition. Read on for his tips.

Louboutin Leather & Materials

Whether patent leather, ponyhair or covered in studs and suede, Louboutin shoes are made of the finest materials. The best way to care for all styles of Louboutin shoes to is to keep them clean, dry and out of the weather. To keep them clean, Wetzbarger recommends  using a soft, dry cloth. “Be wary of using commercial shoe polish that may not be suited to the quality of leather Louboutins are made with,” he warns.

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If your Louboutins have an unavoidable run-in with the elements, the best thing to do is wipe them down with a soft cloth. But be mindful of suede: “If you get dirt or mud on suede, wait until it dries to clean it off to avoid smearing and staining.” And it’s not just the outside that counts. Keeping your insoles in good shape is a good idea: “Discolored insoles can kill the resale value of your shoes,” cautions Wetzbarger. “Wipe them down with a soft cloth and very mild soap.”

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 Louboutin Heels

Louboutin shoes often come with spare heel taps, which you should always keep on hand. Wetzbarger recommends replacing heel taps regularly when they start to wear down. Louboutin Shoes“Never walk on a heel without a heel tap as you can ruin the integrity of the heel, and then replacements cannot be put on.” If your shoes don’t come with extras, or if you’ve misplaced them, any cobbler should be able to find the right size and shape to match.

Louboutin Soles

In a perfect world, your Louboutins’ signature soles would stay glossy red forever. But in reality, even with minimal wear they’re bound to see some scuffs. Wetzbarger says not to worry too much: “Some scuffs are ok. They provide traction and are inevitable with usual wear.” And if the scuffs become more than minimal?
Louboutin Shoes“You can retain the vibrancy of Louboutin shoes with rubber sole protectors sold at many cobblers,” he says. They even come in red.

 

Storing Your Louboutins

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Before storing, stuff the toebox of your Louboutins with tissue to help them keep their shape, then place them in dustbags away from light. “Each pair of Louboutin shoes comes with two dustbags,” explains Wetzbarger. “Only store one shoe per dustbag so they don’t scuff or transfer color.”

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