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Christian Louboutin on His Roundabout Route to Shoe Design

NEW YORK — Synonymous as his name is with the red-soled sky-high shoes he designs, Christian Louboutin needed no sense of grandeur in describing his own famed life.
In a lengthy question-and-answer session at 92Y with Fern Mallis, he illustrated how an imaginative, mature and impatient boy in Paris wound up being one of the world’s most recognized shoe designers. Put off by the perennial what-would-you-like-to-be-when-you-grow-up question, he simply lied, telling adults, “I want to design shoes,” never thinking it was a real job.
Although a drawing of a high-heeled shoe in a Paris museum was an image that stayed with him for a long time, it wasn’t until years later that the gift of a retrospective book about Roger Vivier (whom he’d never heard of) crystallized his career plans. From that day on, “I really decided it could be and it should be my job,” Louboutin said. “I was all about shoes; I was not about fashion. I had cinema and music but not fashion. When I first started I wanted to design shoes for showgirls.”
After showing his shoe sketches to Folies Bergère, (which he started sneaking into with friends at the age of 12), he was hired as an intern. “But it

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