Christian Louboutin and Design Factory

 This week, as part of the Design Museum’s Design Factory brief launch I had the chance to go round the much-hyped Christian Louboutin exhibition. This has been the museum’s most popular show ever! Which just shows how fashionable shoes can be. The show was cleverly staged as a steamy, red velvet fair ground, complete with carousel. Shoes were shown on glass shelves – their reflections adding to the visual cacophony. I am not sure how many shoes were on display, but there seemed to be hundreds and hundreds of dangerous and sexy high heels stretching out before me!

Louboutin’s shoes are usually really high. Some designs are so high they are in effect a ballet pump on points, with a long spike of a heel. There was a semi closed-off fetish section too, in which one pair of shoes had a heel higher than the shoe itself, rendering them impossible to walk or stand up in. It was apt that this fetish section existed in the exhibition because it was a natural progression from the other “normal” shoes. It made me wonder why anyone would ever wear high heels and make it so hard to walk. But each to their own!

The show had a section about the building techniques of the shoes, including some smart shoes for gentlemen, but there was not much about the design process and the overall impact of the show was that Louboutin’s work is quite repetitive.

All images courtesy of the Design Museum press office. Image credits:

Top: Christian Louboutin, Eugenie Dorsay Velvet Crystal Detail Pump

Bottom: Christian Louboutin, Paola Botty Lace Mesh Knee-high Boot


The Design Factory brunch to launch the new competition brief was as always a great morning. This is a Design Museum competition for Higher Education (university) students. This last year two of my University of Kent students were amongst the forty winners, one, Felicity Price-Smith, was in the top five. Their brief was about making the everyday extraordinary. Felicity made a multi-papered book about hoarding and Eugenia made an Oympic poster created out of tiny squares.  This coming year the brief is about hand made and high tech design. The exemplar brief is from Silo Studios and they gave us a fascinating and witty talk about developing furniture out of a new treatment of fabric moulded polystyrene. Should be quite a challenge to adapt this to graphic design, but my university colleague, Tim, and I are thinking something along the lines of a type project. The Design Factory winners are on the Design Museum’s Flickr steam and here are Felcity’s and Eugenia’s links.


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