I JUST READ a profile of the wildly successful shoe designer Christian Louboutin in The New Yorker (“Sole Mate,” March 28—okay, I am a few issues behind). He sells 500,000 a year of his red-soled status symbols; they start at $395 and ascend into the hundreds of thousands for the more eccentric, elaborate models.
Now, high heels do not interest me. They aren’t compatible with my feet or my non-taxi-taking life, and I don’t even like the way they look on other people. But I don’t regard someone who prefers heels as morally suspect.
Louboutin, however, seems to think that footgear reveals character. He actually claims that hobbling along in heels several inches high is a kind of discipline, a means of slowing down one’s life—stopping to smell the flowers, as it were. And he despises “the whole concept of comfort,” he tells reporter Lauren Collins. To him, it is sloppy, depressing, self-hating.
Yet Louboutin is wearing sneakers in a photograph accompanying the article, and Collins (herself no pushover for fancy cobblery) describes him as shod in red Converses at his country estate in the Vendée. He changes to “heavy boots” for a little light gardening. For his own purposes, clearly, comfort is not such a foreign concept.
Let this pumped-up little shoe dictator walk a mile (or even a city block) in a pair of heels he has designed. Let’s see how he likes it.