Christian Louboutin‘s shoes are a proven hit for women who would gladly shell out a year’s salary to line their closets in his trademark crimson soles. But thanks to a hard-to-please female customer with an even harder-to-fit foot, men the world over can enjoy a Louboutin of their own, too.
Not long after he launched his business 20 years ago, as Louboutin tells it, a proper French woman came to him looking for a pair. She admitted, however, that her feet were so large that she had a hard time finding shoes that fit. “How big?” Louboutin asked. The wrong question. “You don’t ask a woman her age, and you don’t ask a woman her shoe size,” the client replied indignantly. Losing patience, he suggested that she write her size on a piece of paper. It was 13 1/2. Louboutin didn’t even have lasts that large, but he set out to create shoes for her anyway. When they were finished, he presented them proudly and waited for her reaction. “She tried it on and said she’d never put on a shoe that was too big before,” he says. “She thanked me and walked out. I was ready to kill her.”
After a friend heard the story and gifted the shoes to her husband, Louboutin decided to man up. This summer, a men’s only store will open up in the West Village with boutiques in Los Angeles, Miami and London to follow.
As the capricious cobbler fondly reminisces, “In every cloud, there is a silver side.” Or if not a silver side at least a Chinese-red sole. [WWD, sub req'd]