It’s almost an indisputable fact that Christian Louboutin heels are the most sought-after fashion piece in history. Who can honestly say they never feel a slight twinge of envy when someone walks by flashing those seductive red soles. Yet, though many may chase this iconic scarlet shoe as if life depended on it, few know the history behind footwear’s most recognizable color. If you’re waiting impatiently for your savings to allow for this purchase of a lifetime, maybe an excursion back in time will help pass the time. Here’s why Christian Louboutin first painted his famous heels scarlet and how the fashion house came to embrace that shade of red as their colorful signature.
ANDY WARHOL’S FLOWERS
It all began with Warhol. More specifically, this his famous silkscreen print variations on garden flowers. Louboutin decided to model a pair of shoes after the collection in 1993, two years after setting up shop in Paris. He was set on coaxing out the brilliant colors in this notable departure from typical Warhol subject matter. Besides, he and Warhol had clubbed away the nights back when punk was new and taboo. What better way to pay homage to an old friend than design footwear inspired by his artwork?
Warhol seems like an excellent inspiration for an iconic shoe collection, don’t you think? His art is colorful and unique, a guaranteed way to stand out in any field. Unfortunately, it didn’t yield any such results for the ambitious Christian Louboutin once his penciled sketches were finished. Like a baked potato without salt or pepper, each prototype felt like it was missing the spunk of a Warhol painting. So, the task became finding the secret ingredient. What would make this shoe pop?
A POLISHED ADJUSTMENT
You don’t just happen upon the look that makes your shoe one of fashion’s most sought-after items, do you? If you’re Christian Louboutin, you do. His iconic red soles came about thanks to a whim, one innocent little bottle of polish. Legend has it the great Louboutin stole his assistant’s red nail varnish to paint the sole of a classic Pensée. As soon as it dried, he knew there was no turning back.
A SHORTAGE OF RED
Even a fashion house like Christian Louboutin doesn’t keep plentiful amounts of red paint lying around. When their famous leader announced that all manufactured shoes were to boast a scarlet red heel, the factories had to improvise for a bit until supplies arrived. During those early weeks, red nail polish became the lacquer of choice when painting a Louboutin sole. Since then, the brand has developed a much sturdier substance to coat their shoes. Nail polish is back to being nail polish, though you can by Rouge Louboutin if you want the iconic footwear color on your toes as well as your soles.
Now you can have red soles on any trend you like. Black stiletto ladies, nude pump lovers, and fans of the embellished heel can all join the exclusive Louboutin club. Thank Andy Warhol for the flowers and that forgotten executive assistant for deciding to polish her nails red while Christian was in the room. You owe your footwear obsession to them as much as Mr. Louboutin.
— Scarlett Price