Style classics: Louboutin

Style classics: Louboutin

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UPDATED:

23:50 GMT, 21 November 2012

This year’s retrospective of Christian Louboutin’s shoes at the Design Museum has been named its most popular exhibition of all time.

Perhaps the most recognisable element of his designs are the crimson soles — easily as iconic as his elegant uppers, which have been decorated with everything from Swarovski crystals to lethal-looking studs.

The furniture maker’s son was born in Paris in 1964, and became a dapper presence in chic circles in the late Seventies and early Eighties.

Sexy soles: Louboutins are famous for their sultry red soles

Sexy shoes: Louboutins are famous for their sultry red soles

Style setter: Victoria Beckham is rarely seen in anything but sky high Louboutins

Style setter: Victoria Beckham is rarely seen in anything but sky high Louboutins

Style setter: Victoria Beckham is rarely seen in anything but sky high Louboutins

After a spell at fashion school, he interned at Charles Jourdan, then working as a freelance designer for Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel.

In 1991, he set up shop on his own, in Paris’s Passage Vro-Dodat. Princess of Monaco, Catherine Deneuve and Diane Von Furstenberg were among his first customers, but it wasn’t until a year later the soles of his slippers turned ruby — finding black a little boring, he borrowed his assistant’s red nail polish and transformed them with a lick of paint.

His designs have been worn by everyone from Barbie to Jennifer Lopez — Victoria Beckham is rarely seen without a pair of vertiginous heels.

Perhaps his most loved is the Simple Pump with an 85mm heel, from 375, which comes in a rainbow of colours.

Even if you’re going neutral though, the glossy slick of red turns heads. ‘Men are like bulls,’ Christian Louboutin has said. ‘They cannot resist the red sole.’