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Pictures | Mon Feb 24, 2020 | 8:40pm EST

The art of the shoe: Louboutin on exhibit

The Paris building that inspired shoemaker Christian Louboutin's obsession with stiletto heels is, nearly half a century later, home to a retrospective on his career. Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, France, February 21, 2020. 
REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The Paris building that inspired shoemaker Christian Louboutin's obsession with stiletto heels is, nearly half a century later, home to a retrospective on his career. Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press...more

The Paris building that inspired shoemaker Christian Louboutin's obsession with stiletto heels is, nearly half a century later, home to a retrospective on his career. Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, France, February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Louboutin - best known for producing shoes with soles painted lipstick-red - used to go to the Palais de la Porte Doree to look at exhibitions when he was a boy.

He remembers a sign with a picture of a spike-heeled shoe with a red line through it, banning women from wearing stilettos to protect the wooden floors.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Louboutin - best known for producing shoes with soles painted lipstick-red - used to go to the Palais de la Porte Doree to look at exhibitions when he was a boy. He remembers a sign with a picture of a spike-heeled shoe with a red line through it,...more

Louboutin - best known for producing shoes with soles painted lipstick-red - used to go to the Palais de la Porte Doree to look at exhibitions when he was a boy. He remembers a sign with a picture of a spike-heeled shoe with a red line through it, banning women from wearing stilettos to protect the wooden floors. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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He spent hours reproducing that image in his sketchbooks, laying the foundations for his career as a designer.

"I owe a lot to the drawing," he told Reuters. "I reproduced it a lot, changing the colors a bit, changing the form a bit, but I always drew ... a shoe in profile, without knowing that it could be a profession."  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

He spent hours reproducing that image in his sketchbooks, laying the foundations for his career as a designer. "I owe a lot to the drawing," he told Reuters. "I reproduced it a lot, changing the colors a bit, changing the form a bit, but I always...more

He spent hours reproducing that image in his sketchbooks, laying the foundations for his career as a designer. "I owe a lot to the drawing," he told Reuters. "I reproduced it a lot, changing the colors a bit, changing the form a bit, but I always drew ... a shoe in profile, without knowing that it could be a profession." REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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After an apprenticeship with Paris fashion houses, Louboutin set up his own brand and a shop in 1991. He attracted a line-up of high-profile customers including film stars, musicians and royals.

While working on one prototype, he saw someone next to him painting their nails, borrowed their varnish and tried putting some of it on the sole.

"It was a revelation," he said. "It became a trademark and I'm happy that I kept it." French shoe designer Christian Louboutin speaks to reporters during a press preview of his exhibition. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

After an apprenticeship with Paris fashion houses, Louboutin set up his own brand and a shop in 1991. He attracted a line-up of high-profile customers including film stars, musicians and royals. While working on one prototype, he saw someone next to...more

After an apprenticeship with Paris fashion houses, Louboutin set up his own brand and a shop in 1991. He attracted a line-up of high-profile customers including film stars, musicians and royals. While working on one prototype, he saw someone next to him painting their nails, borrowed their varnish and tried putting some of it on the sole. "It was a revelation," he said. "It became a trademark and I'm happy that I kept it." French shoe designer Christian Louboutin speaks to reporters during a press preview of his exhibition. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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There is a whole room devoted to his "nude" shoes that match the wearer's skin tone.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

There is a whole room devoted to his "nude" shoes that match the wearer's skin tone. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

There is a whole room devoted to his "nude" shoes that match the wearer's skin tone. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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The exhibition, entitled "Christian Louboutin l'Exhibition" showcases the inspirations behind the designer's work, landmarks in his career, and contemporary artists who have re-interpreted his work.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The exhibition, entitled "Christian Louboutin l'Exhibition" showcases the inspirations behind the designer's work, landmarks in his career, and contemporary artists who have re-interpreted his work. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The exhibition, entitled "Christian Louboutin l'Exhibition" showcases the inspirations behind the designer's work, landmarks in his career, and contemporary artists who have re-interpreted his work. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Creations by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin are displayed during a press preview of his exhibition "L'Exhibition[niste]" (The exhibition[ist]) in Paris, February 21. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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