Christian Louboutin’s $6,295 Shoe Debuts at South Coast Plaza
In the one city directly associated with sun-baked athlete’s wives and bored, rich kids, it might actually not come as a surprise that a certain shoe designer chose to debut a $6,295 pair of shoes. But this city is also infamous for its prominence of flip-flops and overpriced logo beachwear, and when Christian Louboutin to finally set up shop in Orange County’s South Coast Plaza shopping center, it came as a shock to most people.
Louboutin’s claim to fame did not come a la Carrie Bradshaw; who needs Carrie when every other female celebrity photographed in a tabloid magazine is wearing one of his uber-sexy red-soled heels? Nothing quite compares to hearing a woman before she even enters the room, the heavy clicking of her heels dictating the type of presence she is about to assert into the space, and then having your eyes drawn to an unexpected flash of red as she exits.
The very first pair of red-soled heels happened entirely by chance, as Louboutin realized the prototypes of his first shoes was missing something. His assistant just so happened to be painting her nails with red polish, and somehow he felt adding red to the soles was the last piece of the puzzle. Well, the rest is history.
One of Mr. Louboutin’s purposes in trekking all the way across the globe to make an appearance at South Coast Plaza was to debut his Marie Antoinette collection of shoes. Only 32 pairs are made, and the shoes retail for $6,295. Cars can cost less than $6,295. But then again, a used Toyota has not been given the innate attention to detail as a Lesage embroiderer on one of the Marie Antoinette shoes. Oprah even deemed Louboutin’s shoes “pieces of art”. Truly, to step into his boutique, to gaze at his meticulously crafted footwear, for any arts aficionado, can stimulate the same rush as seeing Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
When I had arrived at South Coast Plaza this afternoon around 11:30AM, there was already a bit of a line at the Christian Louboutin store front, though not an immensely long line. I could see one of the Marie Antoinette shoes in the window, encased in a large Ducallier-style egg. I was fortunate to quickly snap a few photos of these exquisitely detailed shoes, because within an hour, they were sold out. Yes, the $6,295 pair of shoes. Three pairs of them.
Prior to Louboutin’s entrance, I watched, as, every five minutes, someone came out of the boutique with a new pair (or pairs) of Louboutins. I felt just a little embarrassed wearing my Yves St. Laurent star-wraparound sandals.
Mr. Louboutin finally arrived around 1:00PM, subtly and not—he was dressed leisurely in a white jacket and teal-blue shirt, a white, short-brimmed hat gently brightening up his face. He was seated right outside the store, next to the front doors, and as the first attendee handed him her shoe to sign, they seemed to engage in intimate conversation.
Roya, the very first and privileged female in line to see Mr. Louboutin, suddenly became the luckiest bride-to-be, as she showed me the shoes she was wearing to her wedding in May—now officially “blessed” by the master shoemaker himself! He had written, “Something old, something new, Something borrowed, something blue”, all of the “o’s” colored in with a bright blue permanent marker.
There are few artisans of Louboutin’s caliber left in the world as fast-fashion has given everybody the opportunity to purchase fashion-forward designs, but after witnessing the artist sharing life stories with his fans and supporters, I was once again reminded of the true value in these shoes. They were made for the times you must put your best foot—in this case, Christian Louboutin-clad—forward, those times you keep close to your heart, be it your very first interview, your best friend’s wedding, or the day your boyfriend asks you to become his wife. Regardless of the event, how insignificant or spectacular, each worn Louboutin shoe carries the story of its owner. For a shoe to be of such importance that it is a notable part of a woman’s life, requires a distinct level of artistry, technique and understanding. Many of us are obsessed with shoes, designer or not, but Louboutin elevates the infatuation to another level—cultivating a desire for beautifully crafted shoes, designed specifically to instill a certain type of power in a woman, to give women femininity and sensuality with something as simple as adorning her feet.