Christian Louboutin. Image: sparklesandshoes.com Christian Louboutin. Image: sparklesandshoes.com

Christian Louboutin's love of high heels came to light in 1976, when he visited a museum in his hometown of Paris. Women with stiletto heels were prohibited from entering certain areas of the exhibition so as not to damage the floor. The then-12-year-old Christian Louboutin wanted women to be able to choose exactly what they wanted to wear, and so he began to draw shoe designs.

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Left: Christian Louboutin "Conquilla" heels in black leather | Right: Christian Louboutin "Beloved" heels in patent leather

Louboutin landed his first job at the famous Parisian performance hall Folie Bergère as an assistant to hall's show girls. After a few years working here, Louboutin longed for adventure. He began exploring Egypt and India, absorbing all that he saw into his designs. When he returned to Paris in 1981, Louboutin began working as a freelance show designer for for prestigious fashion houses including: Charles Jourdan, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and inventor of the penny heel Roger Vivier.

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Left: Christian Louboutin "Soustelissimo" sandals in pink patent leather | Right: Christian Louboutin Pleateau peep-toes "Alta Poppins"

In 1991 Louboutin finally opened his own boutique in Paris with one of his first prominent clients Princess Caroline of Monaco. Her adoration for Louboutin paved the way for him to build a clientele of the worlds most well-heeled.

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Christian Louboutin black leather boots

Two years after the opening of his first store, Louboutin introduced his now trademark red sole. And today, that slither of red on the sole of any well-dressed person has become quite the status symbol. However, this is not something new, 350 years before Louboutin's red soles, another Frenchman, King Louis XIV, was using his shoes to display his superiority. Measuring only 5ft 3, Louis XIV wore vermilion shoes that were nearly 6 inches high as a symbol of his status.

Louis XIV wearing his trademark red heeled shoes. Painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud (1701) Louis XIV wearing his trademark red heeled shoes. Painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud (1701)

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Left: Christian Louboutin Peeptoes "Alta Poppins" | Right: Christian Louboutin Suede Pumps "Lilibelt"

But back to the other shoe king, Christian Louboutin. The eponymous company, founded in 1991, sold 2 000 pairs of shoes in the first year. Today, Louboutin sells over 600 000 pairs of his high-end shoes annually, as well as purses, wallets, cosmetics and perfumes that generate a total of $250 million a year. And of this figures, American novelist Danielle Steel claims that she owns 6 000 pairs of Louboutin's coveted red sole shoes.

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Left: Christian Louboutin "Soustelissimo" red patent leather sandals | Right: Christian Louboutin Pumps in red satin

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Left: Christian Louboutin Leather Ankle Boots "Willetta" | Right: Christian Louboutin Plateau Espandrilles "Lagoa"

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