Christian Louboutin is the most famous shoe designer in the world. His vertiginously high stilettos with their signature lacquer-red soles grace the feet of the rich and famous and can cost up to £6,000 a pair.
Now, for the first time, Louboutin has allowed the cameras to spend a year filming behind the scenes of his extraordinary world.
In this new documentary, filmmaker Michael Waldman (Musicality, Our Queen, Love for Sale) reveals the determination and remarkable creativity that has seen Louboutin revolutionise contemporary footwear, turning the humble shoe into an icon of eroticism, sexual fetish and fun.
The Louboutin company never has to stoop to advertise its shoes. It relies wholly on word of mouth, its inimitable look and distinctive mix of edgy, sexy, sinister and transgressive style. And the hard work of Christian Louboutin himself.
As Michael joins Louboutin, he finds him on the verge of a new challenge: 20 years after founding the empire that bears his name, Louboutin is trying to expand his business empire into the new markets of the East, and the new super-rich to be found there.
Christian Louboutin: The World’s Most Luxurious Shoes follows Louboutin as he travels the globe by plane and Vespa, accompanied at all times by Safquat his butler. Paris Fashion Week, meetings with Vogue, fittings with celebrity clients and preparations for the next season all form the backdrop of his world but it is back in his factory in Milan where Louboutin really comes to life. A carpenter’s son, he has built his success by bringing cutting- edge fashion to the cobblers trade, and while this is always at the heart of his work, with production nearing 25,000 pairs a month, the pressure is on to constantly innovate and stay ahead of the game.
With this in mind, and following a visit to the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, Louboutin has a new idea to create a new line of shoes, handcrafted in the mountains out of chunks of wood. It’s an artistic whim that could be a huge commercial failure...
As the world turns to the changing fortunes of the Middle East and India, where the number of multimillionaires in Mumbai tops 15,000, Waldman’s film offers not only an insight into the business of luxury shoes, but the changing tides of wealth and power across the globe.
Commissioner John Hay says: “I’m sad to say I’ve never owned a pair of Louboutin heels, but watching this film I was completely won over by his cheek, wit and sense of mischief. It’s a pleasure to get a glimpse behind the curtain at the world he and his clients inhabit, and Michael has done a brilliant job of capturing it on film.”
* Christian Louboutin: The World’s Most Luxurious Shoes, Channel 4, Tuesday, 9pm.