THE hottest new store to open just in time for the women’s collections of Paris Fashion Week sells nothing but men’s shoes. And very expensive men’s shoes at that.
Naturally, its hotness has as much to do with the name on the door as it does with the rather fantastical shoes on display, some covered in metallic spikes, others hand-embroidered by Lesage, and one pair, with tassels made of strings of real pearls, that costs 1,495 euros, or just over $2,000.
Twenty years after Christian Louboutin opened his first store here, selling staggering heels with his signature red soles, the designer has leveled the playing field with one just for men, at 19, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a few steps from Les Halles. Mr. Louboutin had previously sold a few men’s styles in his original women’s store next door, but there was so much demand for them that it became a problem.
“It didn’t look so good,” he said. “Sometimes women feel uncomfortable when men stare at them when they try on shoes.”
Not to get too worked up over a shoe store, but this could well be a harbinger of an era when you will start seeing men stopping on the street, changing from flip-flops to Louboutins as they walk into a party or an important meeting. The shoes are so ridiculously expensive that you would not want to risk despoiling them by touching the ground; the detail of their decoration is reminiscent of courtiers’ shoes last seen in the court of Versailles, like a pair of blue loafers with embroidery of metallic threads that mimic the design of a cap-toe brogue. Those are closer to $2,100. The store also offers a custom service in which it will replicate a client’s tattoo as embroidery on a shoe starting at around $8,000.
It may sound out of line with economic realties, but Mr. Louboutin’s store is doing quite well. Since it opened a month ago, Mr. Louboutin said, he has sold more than 20 pairs of shoes each day. On Tuesday afternoon, a young man who had just bought a pair of spike-studded high-tops recognized the designer and asked for a picture.
Mr. Louboutin may have lost a legal case against Yves Saint Laurent this summer over the use of a red sole, for which he holds a trademark, but he has moved on to better projects. For one, Rizzoli will publish a monograph of his work next month.Continue reading the main story