Friday, 6 July 2012

Christian Louboutin Exhibition @ Design Museum

With a 5am get-up for the cause, and despite a fire on the Jubilee line (plus the resulting hour long Southbank trek), finally, this week, I made it to the Design Museum in London. 

It was a red soled pilgrimage in the name of #LoubiLove (I have killed that hashtag in the last couple of days), and Christian Louboutin's 20 year retrospective certainly didn't disappoint.

The excitement began with the installation outside, which naturally I had to be snapped standing in front of.

It then continued when you got in and scaled the staircase, shoes hanging in hoops all the way to the top... Eep!

Anyone who knows me well would know that I always had a bit of a thing for carousels when I was younger, and in all honesty, I still do now... Imagine my delight then, when, on entry, I found myself greeted by a revolving carousel complete with pairs of Loubis on cushioned swings!

Others were standing on gold sole-shaped plinths, in sparkly cabinet-y things and some were around a central island, at the end of which was a fabulous sparkly hologram of Dita Von Teese and some equally sparkly shoes, obviously.  

Anecdotes were dotted around the walls and dinky plaques named and dated the styles, some of which went right back, back to a time before I even knew what a red sole meant.

I wondered if you'd be able to touch the shoes, but a reliable fashion source informed me prior to departure that such a crime would mean being arrested by the 'Loubi Police'. In my mind that didn't sound all that bad, except she then said they weren't hot French men in spiked loubis...

And she was right, they were small English men in black polo shirts, their backs branded with 'design museum' and no, they weren't all flashing red soles as they walked - Shame!

Nevertheless, it made it all that much more exciting, those perfect beauties untouched by mucky paws, and yes, I did press my face up against the glass like an excitable kid. It was all the little details that made the viewing experience more pleasurable I think; a mirror behind each pair to see the sole or a golden shell with a lightbulb to make the strass crystals sparkle; the aforementioned central island/seating area combo in the ubiquitous sole shape; the fact everywhere was just red and/or sparkly.
The curtained-off 'Fetish Room' contained the shoes Louboutin created for a photoshoot with David Lynch, and the accompanying photos. Though they obviously weren't designed to be worn day to day, these scary, slightly perverse and almost disturbing Loubis were still jaw-droppingly beautiful. The man is a genius.  
Then there was Christian's atelier - a fantastical creative mess of a room, the walls covered in images depicting the space that he (and at some point, I) works in, and a central perspex box filled with shoes boxes, sketches, coffee cups, pens, leather, books and pictures. I could have stayed there for hours, examining coffee stains on paper and admiring some very shiny mens Loubis, if it weren't for the jolly music I could hear in the next room...
The jolly music was in fact a film or three, created by Louboutin, documenting his life story, and showing his general penchant for all things a bit crazy. It was amusing, glamorous and a bit cute, plus Mr Loubi shows us that "he's a good little mover".
Those were the words of accompanying friend who I'd dragged along for the London roadtrip, a friend who didn't understand the fuss I'd made and continue to make, over my shoes (Yes, we are still friends, promise!). But even she, by the end of this indulgent 2 hours, had conceded that it was better than she'd expected and could almost understand what the fuss was about. - See, it was that good!
I think I'd scared her by saying it was small, ie. there would be a few pairs of shoes and I'd just oo and ahh. It was quite small I suppose, but as they say, big things come in small packages, and I did coo over the shoes like they were newborn babies... But so did she, especially over anything lacy and crystal encrusted.
So Mr Louboutin, if your aim was to amaze, provide a little bit of indulgence and allow #LoubiLovers to reminisce, you've certainly succeeded. But if it was also to spread the #LoubiLove and convert non-believers into #LoubiLovers, I think that might have happened too...

P.S. Apologies for the length of this post, think back to the Birthday Loubi Post, that was an essay too - can't think why I just have SO much to say on the matter of Louboutins...

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