Red-sole shoe extraordinaire Christian Louboutin softly opened on Maiden Lane on Monday. The 1650-square-foot space carries both men and women's collections as well as bags, like the new Passage messenger expected later this month.
Like its posh neighbors on Maiden Lane (Oliver Peoples, Alexander McQueen, and Paul Smith, to name a few) the new shop delivers an intimate branded experience. The carpet matches the deep-red soles. The spikes, crystals, and embroidery that make the shoes so luxe are mirrored in the richly textured finishes: pleated origami walls, reclaimed tin panels, and velvet sofas with oversized tufting. The focal point is the “niche wall,” a signature display at Louboutin’s stores worldwide, which consists of an optic white wall, where shoes are presented as works of art in oval cut-out cubbies against a smoky mirror background.
Red-carpet watchers will recognize the lace-ups David Beckham wore to the Met Gala – the New Orleans – the rainbow spiked pumps on Kylie Minogue, and the sexy, low-vamped stilettos worn by everyone. The result is a star's ultra-glam shoe boudoir and for the uninitiated, not used to being around so much toe cleavage and floor-to-ceiling mirrors, the result is heady and exhilarating.
What makes excellent shoe shopping is plenty of seating and New York-based 212Box brought it; every kind of chair imaginable, from stools to sofas. And then, the shoes! Leg-lengthening, laser-cut, and opulently embellished. Standouts include spring’s satin floral peep-toe, Youpi, and for scaling the city's hills, Louboutin has a a dressy flat in mesh with delicate micro-crystals that look like fairy dust on your toes. There is no teetering thanks to an unusually plush, shock absorbing carpet, which on the men’s side is in a deeper ‘more masculine’ hue.
Also taking orders is the Tattoo Parlor, a customized embroidery service that ups accessory coordination to a bespoke level. For inked clients, you can get your tattoo interpreted by Louboutin’s Paris atelier and worked on by craftsmen in Italy and India. In three months time, the finished product ‘is like having your crest on your own shoe.
The shop associates hope the maestro will make a personal appearance soon. In the meantime, there’s a large portrait of the founder, evincing his best Bond villain, closely watching as you shop.