Considering his shoes as design objects in their own right,
these cultish objects of desire have, on occasion, been repurposed
to serve something other than feet. "I had finished wedding shoes
for a friend of mine who is getting married soon and she was super
excited," Louboutin recalls. "When she received them she said, 'I'm
not going to touch them, I'm going to place them on my bookcase, I
cannot take my eyes off them.' I actually used to do that too, with
a pair of shoes that I had bought at a flea market in Paris when I
was a teenager. They were a pair of pink pumps with a black top,
1950s style - I used them as bookends."
Looking around the room, I cannot see any displays of repurposed
footwear. Catching my gaze, Louboutin also starts to scan our
surrounds, but not for shoes. He's moved on to objects in a broader
sense and begins stating the provenance of individual items as his
eyes shift focus. "That is French, that is Portuguese, that is
Indian, that is French, that is English, that is American Indian,
that is Mexican, that's from Venice… it's a lot of things and a lot
of different influences".
Thematically speaking, Louboutin's household items confuse,
beguile and distract guests with their varying origins and
reflections of their owner's parentage and passions. Still, this
particular home harbours a considerable number of Portuguese wares,
which the fashion designer is only too willing to explain to me.
Donning an ebullient, block-print striped jacket that he picked up
on a recent trip to India,
he turns to the task at hand. Passing an Indo-Portuguese
17th-century table, we commence the identification process of the
peculiar patchwork of Louboutin's favoured Portuguese pieces.