The famed shoe designer tells us how men are becoming more obsessed with shoes than women
The fame game People mostly know me for my woman’s collections, but I actually have a lot of famous male customers. Many actors, musicians and athletes wear my shoes: Daniel Radcliff is one of them, as are basketball players Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker and the ex-Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas. First pair It was never my intention to launch a men’s line, I just fell into it by accident. I was approached by the musician Mika, who asked me to design some shoes that he could wear on stage. When I design, one idea sparks another and it grows from there. I sketch freestyle designs and then move on to other ones, and before I know it there are 30 or 40 different styles all sketched out. Breaking the mould Men’s shoemaking has a long tradition, and I didn’t want to challenge brands like JM Westin or John Lobb. I didn’t want to make shoes that you hand down to your son, instead, inspired by Mika, I wanted to make shoes that men could wear as showpieces. I believe that inside every man is a little bit of a showman. Shoe obsession When I did my first men’s collection, it sold out very quickly. I think that there is a new generation of men who are now thinking about shoes and fashion in the similar way as women do. This idea that men want to buy things that they love the look of, and not just looking to buy something that they will wear for the next 20 years. I have a lot more men telling me these days that they now understand the shoe obsession of their partners! First impressions When I first meet someone, I actually like to play a little game. I force myself not to look at the shoes they are wearing and I try to guess what they would be wearing based on their outfit and personality. I normally get it wrong. Sole man I own hundreds of shoes, in fact, I even own pairs of shoes that I have never taken out the box. I used to wear all kinds of brands, but now because I have such a range of my own collection, I tend to wear Louboutins. It’s very economical! Phone fancy One of my pet hates is when people go out for dinner and sit there glued to their phones. When you see two people out for dinner and they are both on their phones, I just think, what is the point of going out? Just stay at home if you’re not even going to talk to each other. I try to leave mine at home when I go out, if only for my mental health! Morning glory I am very much a morning person, that is when I am at my most creative. After lunch, I do the more menial business work, but the morning is when have the most inspiration. Even if I’ve been out late the night before, I’ll have an early morning swim and I’m ready for the day. Getting inked It’s tough to stand out from a crowd, but that is exactly what you can expect from Christian Louboutin’s new men’s store in Mall of the Emirates. The region’s flagship store is equipped with an in-house shoe tattoo service that allows its customers to bespoke personalise their shoes with designs of their choosing. Ex-Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas was one of the first to use the service, personalising a pair by reproducing his tattoos on to a pair of Louboutin loafers.