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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

My Luxury Life: Christian Louboutin

The Paris-born Christian Louboutin is a master of details. In addition to world travelling, the designer ‘loves’ flat shoes, is a fan of mysterious laundry services and is building his own village.
Christian Louboutin visited his store at The Galleria in Abu Dhabi on his visit to the UAE in October. Lee Hoagland / The National
Christian Louboutin visited his store at The Galleria in Abu Dhabi on his visit to the UAE in October. Lee Hoagland / The National

The Paris-born Christian Louboutin is a master of details. After a successful foray into men’s shoes, his brand expanded with Christian Louboutin Beauté, a distinctively bottled nail-enamel range. In addition to world travelling, the designer ‘loves’ flat shoes, is a fan of mysterious laundry services and is building his own village.

If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you be?

In my house in Portugal, in the summer.

You are sitting down to the perfect meal. Where are you and what are you eating?

It would be in my parents’ Paris apartment, and it would be my mother’s stuffed tomatoes, which I loved.

Where is the best service you have ever experienced?

The Peninsula hotel’s laundry in Shanghai. In your room, you have a cupboard; you throw your things in, then three hours later, it’s back and it’s clean, and you haven’t seen anyone because the cupboard is corresponding with something in the corridor. I was so impressed.

Where are your favourite shops/shopping districts?

My favourite shopping district is actually an Indian market in Mexico City. They have all this beadwork, on anything, basically. Last time I brought a [motorcycle] helmet to be completely rebeaded. They bead everything.

What was your first-ever luxury purchase?

A pair of [J M] Weston shoes. They were in the window, and the sun had made them fade to almost purple. When I got them, they were dark brown and I said, “I don’t want this thing, I asked for this colour.” They said the colour was “two years of the sun in this window” and they were not my size. So I ended up with a brown pair of shoes I regretted and probably never wore.

Are you a collector? If so, what do you collect?

I am afraid so, yes. I collect houses – too many. But I am the worst type of collector: I never sell to buy something else. I store and I keep.

What does your dream home look like?

Actually what I am building in Portugal. It’s not a house, but it’s like a village. Are you familiar with the French cartoon Obelix and Asterix? It’s the story of a village of Gaulois, the first French inhabitants, which is surrounded by Romans, but they’re survivors. It always ends up with a nice dinner outside. That’s what I’m doing. I buy little houses around each other, and the idea is there is this big, big table, and whatever, because I’m a very bad host, so I don’t want to have to take care of my guests; you do whatever you want and then at meals, everyone gets together.

What is the most overrated luxury?

Some contemporary artists. The price of some paintings is really ... I don’t get it. Do it as wallpaper and give it to charity.

What is the one luxury you cannot live without?

Safquat. My assistant from Bangladesh. He travels all the time with me.

You have been quoted as saying: “I hate the concept of comfort.” Do you stand by that?

Absolutely. This is an overrated value, comfort. If the world was driven by comfort, we’d all be in bad pyjamas.

What, then, are your thoughts on flat shoes?

Love flat shoes. You know, it’s funny because a lot of friends I have say, “I twisted my ankle, I fell.” I say, “What did you wear?” They say, “Sneakers.” The more you are in flats, the less you are aware of your body.

How do you want women to feel when they are wearing your shoes?

Empowered. And happy.

What are your plans for the evolution of the brand?

Shaving. Shaving every morning so the brand looks clean. [laughs] ... it should just stay the way it is.

Christian Louboutin was in the UAE in October to launch his first men’s boutique in the region in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates, and also visited his store in The Galleria, Abu Dhabi

amcmqueen@thenational.ae