Christian Louboutin: L’Exhibition[niste] – Chapitre II In Monaco

Christian Louboutin: L’Exhibition[niste] – Chapitre II

Two weeks ago I attended “Christian Louboutin: L’exhibition[niste] – Chapitre II in Monaco. This was the second chapter of Louboutin’s first exhibition held in 2020 at the Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris; the Monaco edition offered a new perspective with this second exhibition named “Chapter II”.

This was probably Grimaldi Forum’s biggest event of the summer, dedicated to the universe and the creations of Christian Louboutin, a legendary shoe designer and one of the most prominent figures in the world of fashion.

The set design stretched for 2000 m2 of the Espace Ravel in the Grimaldi Forum building and included additional items linked to the designer’s Monegasque inspirations and new collaborations. The retrospective was conceived as “a joyous odyssey spanning three decades of Louboutin’s creativity, tracing his curiosity towards culture and art in all its forms”, celebrating art through the creator’s eyes.

The shoes were the retrospective’s main protagonists, with a selection of exceptional creations including some unique models.

Christian Louboutin started his apprenticeship at the end of the 80s with Folies Bergère, a Parisian music-hall, for which he realized the costumes (he once said in an interview: “I’ve always loved anything having to do with theater – theatricality and movement, the movement of theatricality.”), then he worked for a while with Charles Jourdan and Roger Vivier, a famous Parisian shoe designer, who was one of his biggest inspirations at the beginning of his career.

Louboutin founded his own brand and opened his Paris shop in 1990. His first line with the iconic red sole came out in 1992, giving his shoes a distinctive look; by inventing the red sole, he found his signature, which is known and recognized across the world to this day.

Entrance of Christian Louboutin’s exhibition at Grimaldi Forum, Monaco

The first room of the Monaco retrospective was decorated with a set of eight stained-glass windows especially designed by Christian Louboutin and displayed the first shoes he ever designed. Most of those he made himself on a budget in his tiny apartment – the designs show the influence of Roger Vivier on Louboutin’s first shoe models.

This room reconstructed the beginning of his career, with the help of magazine covers, initial sketches and personal photographs, which recapture the buzz of the 80s and 90s, when fashion was still something fun and light-hearted, less intertwined with the concept of luxury. The room displayed some of his early creations like the Pluminette (Spring/Summer 1995, inspired by birds), Love (Louboutin’s “Première Collection”, Fall/Winter 1991), Aqua Girl (Fall/Winter 1998) and Pensée(Fall/Winter 1993, produced in a variety of different colors).

Princess Caroline of Monaco and Madonna were among Louboutin’s first clients at his Parisian boutique in Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Of his legendary career, the designer says: “It’s really a lucky star that has brought me to this point, more than ambition, dreams, or imagination. I let myself be guided by things.”

Some of Louboutin’s first shoe models