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The “Pigalle”: Louboutin’s iconic shoes

Before the new pandemic-induced restrictions, the Palais de la Porte Dorée welcomed the Louboutin exhibition “L’Exhibition[niste]”. A great opportunity to get an overview and rediscover these now emblematic shoes, which French fashion can take pride in: the “Pigalle”. Created by Christian Louboutin for his Fall/Winter 2004/2005 collection , these black pumps and their evocative name have become the mythical red-soled shoes. The creator revisits and reinterprets the model each season, and the blazing modernity of this timeless piece is undeniable. Focus on a stiletto makes everyone flush red.

By Kassandre Fradelin, Chloé Redler
Before closing down because of the pandemic, the Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris, welcomed an exhibition dedicated to the ultra-creative and imaginary world of Christian Louboutin – Video: YouTube channel of the Palais de la Porte Dorée.

Louboutin “Pigalle” on the Red Carpet

L'iconique "Pigalle" de Louboutin de 12 c
The 12-cm version of the “Pigalle” sporting Louboutin’s emblematic red sole – © Jean-Vincent Simonet.

Though sadly not on your own feet, you have most certainly seen the “Pigalle”, wore by the greatest celebrities. From Emma Stone to Victoria Beckham, including Anne Hathaway, Katy Perry, Beyoncé, or even Dita Von Teese, these shoes take assertive strides on the Red Carpet. First presented in the early 2000s by Christian Louboutin, they have the particular ability to perfectly complete any outfit and enhancing the leg’s beauty.

The “Pigalle”, the little Parisian woman…

Christian Louboutin à l’exposition the Exhibition[niste]
Christian Louboutin at the Exhibition[niste] exhibition – © Courtesy of Christian Louboutin.

The idea for the “Pigalle” – born from the fantasist and magical inventiveness of the shoe designer – came to him while he was at the Foire du Trône, by studying the peculiar gait of a prostitute nearby the funfair. Pigalle, scandalous and mythical Parisian neighbourhood, can now literally be on your feet…

The fabrication secrets of the “Pigalle”

La confection de la Louboutin dans les ateliers parisiens de la Maison
Manufacturing of the “Pigalle” in Louboutin’s ateliers, illustrating the true French savoir-faire- © Philippe Garcia.

Having become iconic shoes in just a few years, the “Pigalle” owes its success to its emblematic red sole as much as to its fabrication method. A pair takes around a week to be made, between the pattern cutting, the stitching, the leather cutting, the sewing and the shaping. All of this is done by highly qualified artisans in a Parisian workshop. Still, the “Pigalle” is also a global phenomenon as shown by the 156 Louboutin boutiques around the world…

Find the boutique list in this link.

The “Pigalle” in all its forms

L'escarpin "Follies" de Christian Louboutin
Embodying the savoir-faire of the Maison Christian Louboutin, the “Follies” pump embellishes the foot with its minimalistic lines and its Super Loubi coloured and fun print of Japanese influences.

The renowned collection comprises two distinct lines. On one side, the “Pigalle” with only black or flesh-coloured shoes. On the other, the “Pigalle Follies” – drawing its name from the famous Parisian cabaret – is a line in which the creator’s eccentricity knows no bounds: flamboyant colours, stripes, glitters, golden studs, pink, blue, green velvet, etc.

L'escarpin Pigalle Follies de Christian Louboutin
The season, the elegant and refined, Pigalle Follies Plume is decked out in Canopée green velvet calfskin dotted with small golden studs inspired by the plumetis technique. This stiletto sits atop a 10 cm heel and its scalloped line accentuates the sophisticated look of the foot.

Each line is available in four heel heights: 4,5 cm, 8,5 cm or 10 cm. And of course, for the bolder ones, the dizzying 12 cm!

Louboutin’s “Pigalle” passion, but also so much more…

La collection "Nudes" de Christian Louboutin
Four Desgrastrass pumps colours of the “Nudes” collection presented at the L’Exhibition[niste] exhibition – © Jean-Vincent Simonet.

Christian Louboutin is also the creator of many well-known models such as the “Kate” or the “Hot Chick”. The “Nudes” series based on the various natural skin tones is also owed to this brilliant designer. Unveiled in 2013, it now features eight shades declined in pumps, sneakers and accessories.

The “Nudes” collection has celebrated diversity since their launch. Designed to create the illusion of never-ending legs, these pieces enhance modern outfits – Video: Christian Louboutin’s YouTube channel.

And now, the brand’s latest novelty; the “Loubishark”. Riding the sneakers trend wave, the sole of these unusual sports shoes similar to a shark’s teeth… But it is still a flashy red sole, of course!

New emblematic high-end sneakers, the “Loubishark” are creatively daring with their new “shark teeth” sole – Video: Christian Louboutin‘s YouTube channel.
La "Stiil Life" de Chrisitian Louboutin
Louboutin’s very high “Still Life” heels are fascinating because of their coloured fantasy and their extravagant details – © Jean-Vincent Simonet.

Louboutin’s work and imagination put on a show at the Palais de la Porte Dorée.

Because of the new Covid-19 restrictions, you will need to be patient before going back to see “L’Exhibition[niste]”. Set at the Palais de la Porte Dorée, it stays true to the facetious designer’s sense of humour while presenting its creations and inspirations in a playful and educational way.

For more information on the exhibition new measures: www.palais-portedoree.fr/en

Did you know?

Les mules Louboutin pour femmes spécialement confectionnées pour le Royal Mansour Marrakech
Capsule collection for the Royal Mansour Marrakech.
The patterns of the women’s mules are inspired by the Arabo-Andalusian decoration of the Moroccan palace.

Always open to fancy designs and technical challenges, Christian Louboutin has recently chosen to use his talent for the Royal Mansour Marrakech, to create two exclusive and original models. For women, a pointed-toe flat mule, with mosaic patterns (€800). For men, a slipper shaped like a classic loafer with black suspenders, topped with a star referencing the Moroccan flag as well as the French brand’s iconic écusson (€500). The models are a stunning tribute to Moroccan’s crafts combined with the Louboutin’s unconditional savoir-faire.

Discover Christian Louboutin’s Women & Men Spring-Summer 2021 collections through his own digital world – Video: Christian Louboutin‘s YouTube channel .


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