Season after season, Christian Louboutin’s technical mastery and signature irreverence take classic men’s shoes to the next level in pursuit of uncompromising innovation and design.
Boundaries mean little to Christian Louboutin, whose namesake label was founded in 1992. An artist with a true passion for shoes, and whose designs are both unique and instantly recognizable, Louboutin’s collection for men is unparalleled in elegance and fine craftsmanship. The word tradition is often taken merely as a suggestion to the designer, as he reinvents fabrics, embellishments, constructions and techniques tirelessly. The collection, which is crafted by highly skilled artisans at a family-owned factory located just outside the epicenter of traditional shoemaking in Naples, is regarded as one of the most versatile and skilled in the world of luxury.
Using skills honed over the course of decades, each artisan brings a unique legacy of knowledge, precision and detailing to each creation, giving life to the ingenuity of Louboutin’s designs. “The factory in Naples is like a laboratory, where we can experiment and keep an eye on how the product evolves, so we can constantly improve it. And if you are not satisfied with the result, you can change it. A machine doesn’t have the same human assessment,” says Louboutin. “Perhaps because my own father was a cabinetmaker, I have never forgotten that there are people behind things. I prefer human skill to large factories, and I spend a lot of time on details and meeting the people who make my products.” A perspective that offers a breath of fresh air, and one we couldn’t agree with more.
In the most recent collections, Louboutin Homme classics are reinvented in colors both classic and bold, with luxe yet understated detailing. The label’s first full wing tip shoe makes its debut this coming spring, a must-have style for today’s modern gentleman. “You shape dress shoes like a car. It’s about proportion, balance, and, the polish is very important,” says Louboutin.
Each pair in the collection is hand-crafted and touched by anywhere from 20-50 sets of hands over the course of several days, an art form lost in today’s world of fast fashion. The process is unique in that each shoe is created from natural leather that is then hand colored by applying additional layers. This allows the color of the final product to have a depth and richness that is not possible to get from using other techniques. It is this process that ensures no two pairs of Louboutin’s are exactly alike, as it relies on the craftsman’s eye to determine when the correct color is attained. Each pair of shoes created with this technique takes about four days to make, as each layer of color has to dry before the next one can be applied. The final product is a celebration of masculinity and style, which captures the warmth and energy of a beautiful Italian summer, in the designer’s signature red sole.
Words by Kara Studzinski
Photos by Lougè Delcy of Dapper Lou and Michael Luppi