A Louboutin shoe is well, never just a shoe. To some, it is a work of handcrafted art, to others a collector item, while to some, it is fashion’s most precious. Take for instance, his latest offering in handcrafted heels – LouBhoutan (Bhoutan is French for Bhutan), inspired by the lush landscape of the Buddhist kingdom on the eastern edge of the Himalayas.
Tracing the story
An insatiable traveller, Christian has visited countless countries over the years but one in particular that has held his imagination captive since he was a teenager has been The Kingdom of Bhutan. A lifelong dream to visit this mysterious place finally came true when in 2012, he made his first trip to the kingdom, discovering a culture as rich as he had imagined. During his first visit, he explored Bhutan’s mountains replete with monasteries.
The second time, he settled in the capital and got to know the city better. “I wanted to meet the locals and get to know their
culture, way of life, and their traditions,” he recalls. “That’s when I discovered the Royal School of the 13 Royal Crafts of Bhutan. From there, I came up with the idea of having the students sketch to see what their skills could offer in terms of sculpture or embroidery on shoes.” The project began in 2013 and was completed this year. Its name: Loubhoutan, featuring 13 hand-sculpted and hand-painted pieces made with traditional
Working closely with the students of the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, also known as the School of the Thirteen Royal Arts and Crafts, the foundations for each piece were created in Bhutan whilst the uppers were designed by Christian and made in Italy. Requiring enormous amounts of skill, artistry and patience, each of the 13 styles feature hand-sculpted wooden platforms and heels, making every single piece completely
unique. In Bhutan as with the collection, details reign supreme. “Nothing in Bhutan is plain”, says Christian, “From the architecture to the clothing, everything is full of detail, stylised patterns and colour.”
Whether Buddhist lotuses and monsters, Himalayan flowers or typical arabesques, the collection is bursting with mystic symbolism and traditional iconography. A direct reference to the Bhutan’s reputation as the ‘Roof of the World’, stylised clouds and delicate gradations mimicking the colours of the heavens at sunrise and sunset adorn many of the styles, appearing on silk uppers and hand-painted wooden heels. Mystic cloud motifs on
midnight blue velvet nod to the country’s singular quest for emotional fulfilment and happiness. A highly personal ode to Bhutan’s immense beauty, Christian’s desire to keep authenticity and craftsmanship at the heart of the creative process is clear to see given the exceptional nature of
these one-of-a-kind pieces.