Tap dancing

by Ashley Maddox

louboutin.jpgI walked right past Christian Louboutin last weekend.  He made an impression.

Louboutin is Paris’ most well-known ladies shoe designer, notable for his sky high heels and their trade-mark red patent sole.  Louboutin’s shoes eclipsed Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik at the peak of the swinging hey-day of ‘Sex and the City’, and I can see why: every pair I own are well-cut, sexy, and outrageously comfortable (and, to be fair, outrageously expensive).

Louboutin was easy to recognize: I remember seeing pictures of him in an article about how he spends his free time drifting down the Nile in an over-sized Egyptian dhou, and I also knew that his Parisian flagship was just around the corner in one of the covered ‘galeries’ in the 1er. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he was wearing a well-cut khaki suit, accented by an outrageous and sparky pair of silver studded black leather shoes that flashed in the light as he hopped up onto the pavement.

I just caught the following music video, which explains both the silver studs and the sparkle in his step. It’s about three minutes too long, but the tunes are magnificent.

Is Louboutin a harbinger of things to come?   His latest collections have taken a turn for the Vegas, and, at the risk of being unfair, I suspect that this all started to happen just as St Tropez’s legendary Club 55 translated its menus into Russian.   The 120mm heels, the lurid colors, and the goofy ribbons, bows, and lace make your head spin (though I must admit that I get a huge kick out of the African-inspired gladiator stilettos). I chose a few of the highlights below, organized from Old School to the decidedly New – and culminating in a pair of classic pumps that are studded with the same silver studs as Louboutin’s video.  I see that the NYT’s Penelope Rowlands would say that Louboutin’s new style reflects recession fever; she recently argued that “during times of financial pressure, high fashion brings out the most gravity-defying shoes.”


Shoe fashion aside, I feel pretty confident that the fashion music video is here to stay, as illustrated by similar examples from Karl Lagerfeld, Prada, and David Lynch’s snoozy take on a moody Shanghai night for Dior – two of which notably take place in China. They’re all pretty lousy, and in my mind, the only one worth watching is by Cartier. (I am admittedly biased because I adore the idea of being a jewelry thief, which surely comes from reading too many Sidney Sheldons when I was a teenager. And I love the car).

No matter what happens to the economy, I predict that this particular trend of content creation will seep into other industries, as brands fight to establish themselves in the wild and wacky world of Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter.  I don’t know about silver studs, but we’ll be seeing a whole new wave of branded entertainment in the years to come.


Ashley Maddox is a life-long, world traveler, who currently lives in Paris with her husband and two daughters and is writing about her adventures on her blog Une Vache Espagnole.

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