Christian Louboutin celebrated the anniversary of his 20th year in the designer footwear business with his first ever retrospective exhibition at London’s Design Museum earlier this year. I was rather disappointed that I wasn’t able to hop over to the other side of the pond to experience the exhibit first hand; that is, until the Design Exchange (DX) made the unexpected and utterly delightful announcement last month that the museum would be bringing that very exhibition to Toronto. The exhibit, which drew record crowds during its run in London, will be at the DX from June 21 to September 15, 2013.
Donna Loveday, the exhibition’s curator, explains the concept behind it:
The exhibition celebrates Louboutin’s career to date and showcases twenty years of designs and inspiration, revealing the artistry and theatricality of his shoe design – from stilettos to lace-up boots, studded sneakers and bejewelled pumps. Louboutin’s shoes are the epitome of style, glamour, femininity, elegance and craftsmanship. A strong narrative informs the exhibition and addresses the following key questions, who is Christian Louboutin? What was his route to shoe design? What are the inspirations and influences that have informed his work over 20 years? What is his design process?
The exhibition will present a carefully chosen selection of shoes from collections spanning twenty years. Alongside the shoes will be more personal mementos from Christian’s archive including photographs of his early years growing up in Paris, early sketches and shoe designs. The exhibition has had unique access to Christian Louboutin’s personal archive. A dramatic exhibition environment will present Louboutin’s artistic personality and creative approach. It will examine the many sources of his creativity, shoes inspired by performance and the showgirl; entertainment; transparency; travel and architecture.
The exhibition will also focus on the handcrafted shoe, one-off designs which incorporate highly innovative ideas, forms and materials. There will be a special section dedicated to the shoes designed for Fetish, an exhibition at the Gallerie Du Passage, Paris, in 2007, which was a unique collaboration of photography between Louboutin and acclaimed film maker David Lynch. At the core of the exhibition will be a unique exploration of Louboutin’s design process, taking the visitor through every stage of the design journey, revealing how a shoe is constructed, from the initial drawing and first prototype through to production in the factory.
Now I can finally stop lamenting having missed Louboutin’s visit to the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto back in 2005. Instead, I’ll be counting down the days until the retrospective exhibition opens at the DX next summer. In the meantime, check out the trailer by London’s Design Museum and over 40 images from the exhibition’s run there below. And you may as well start debating which pair of red-soled beauties to don for the occasion, too.