Go Inside Christian Louboutin’s Stunning Parisian Penthouse
Christian Louboutin has always had a particular relationship with his surroundings, including his Paris home, located near the Opéra. The sprawling residence, perched on the top floor of a building that houses a law office, a baguette sandwich shop, and a cobbler, is like a well-worn passport, a time capsule of his adventures.
There, Louboutin lives among a menagerie of artifacts: Egyptian chairs inscribed with hieroglyphics, feathered headdresses from the Amazon, masks and spirit dolls from the Hopi and Zuni tribes of North America, and a fireplace he imported from Iran, all reminders of places he has visited to widen his view of the world. “Traveling makes you understand that you should not think that you are always right,” Louboutin says. “You may think you know, but you don’t.”
In fact, it was a terrible mistake that led him to this address. In the early days of his business—his empire of red soles is about to celebrate its 25th year—Louboutin lived in a modest apartment behind his original store on rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. But once his designs became an international sensation—popularized on the red carpet by Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, and Kate Winslet in the early 2000s—he sought something more opulent.
It took three years to find the perfect place: a magnificent painter’s studio in the ninth arrondissement with 26-foot ceilings and a wall of glass windows. As Louboutin was about to sign the contract, his business partner, Bruno Chamberlain, reviewed it and discovered that due to the complexities of French real estate law, Louboutin was trying to purchase an apartment in which he could not legally live on certain days of the week. Louboutin was so distraught, he says, “I thought, at this point, I’ll move to Beirut.”
Luckily, a friend intervened and took up the hunt, eventually discovering Louboutin’s current space, then in a state of disrepair. Its reconstruction took nearly three years and involved transforming a warren of small rooms into a massive suite under a vaulted ceiling, creating an enormous master suite with a walk-in closet that resembles the inside of a luxury train car, and installing a sky-lit marble spa. Of course, there is still not nearly enough storage for all his shoes, with as many as 200 pairs lined up double file along the walls of his bedroom and bathroom. Click the photo above to take a closer look.
Louboutin has a knack for collecting unusual souvenirs. In his kitchen, the marble flooring and hand-carved wooden doors are keepsakes from a palace in Damascus.
The chairs and screens in this room are from Egypt, a place which has fascinated and inspired Louboutin since he was a boy. "It’s a nightmare to go on a trip with me," he says. "I come back with tons of luggage."
The Living Room
The designer’s taste runs from pre-Columbian to modern–case in point, these Jean Royère Polar Bear chairs that anchor the living room.
His bathroom is pure luxury, a fetishist’s oasis of mirrored glass tiles from India, where the only slightly naughty thing is a bronze alligator sculpture that swims the marble seas.
The Dining Room
Louboutin’s stilettos and towering platforms often evoke a playful perversity, so it makes sense that he would create a twisted dining table from the frame of a vintage metal dentist’s chair.
Apart from 200 or so pairs of shoes, Louboutin has a weakness for Native American art, which appears even in his bedroom. “I don’t have the heart of a collector,” he says. “It’s just that some things appeal to you, and suddenly you have more and more.”
Dormer windows in the mansard roof bring lightness into Louboutin’s study, where he works at this Swedish desk, built in 1910.
His Overflowing Shoe Collection
"I have fewer shoes here than I have in my office," Louboutin says. Two hundred pairs (give or take) line the double file wall along the walls of his bedroom and bathroom.
Left: A terra-cotta sculpture of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, a gift from the late actress, rests on his desk. Right: Treasured masks in the living room are guarded by a taxidermied tiger.
Left: A seashell bust by Janine Janet, who also designed costumes for Balenciaga, looks out onto the main hall. Right: Electric candles line the entrance's curved staircase.
The Desk Décor
Left: Cultures collide in every corner, as with this Amazonian headdress over a modern Italian cabinet. Right: A Chéri Samba painting made of garbage bears a message in French that translates as "fight against dirtiness."