His red soles are ubiquitous, fans of his designs multitudinous and his ability to change a woman's walk, posture and demeanour with the line of a heel legendary. The shoe maestro Christian Louboutin, whose creations have graced the feet of everyone from Dita Von Teese to Barbie, has long been a regular visitor to Dubai. But he suddenly has a much greater stake in the UAE having, much to the delight of his Middle Eastern devotees, signed an agreement with The Chalhoub Group that will see him opening stores in the Middle East - including his long-awaited Dubai boutique, due to finally open at Mall of the Emirates in September. (His Jeddah store is now open, soon to be joined by ones in Riyadh and Beirut.)
On a flying visit to the UAE last week, Monsieur Louboutin lunched with his faithful customers, caught up with old acquaintances and explored Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where he visited the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Emirates Palace. In between, exclusively for The National, he created a series of drawings prompted by his time in Dubai. When we last interviewed the shy designer, in January last year, the constant doodler mentioned that he always keeps a notebook and pencil handy for his drawings. This, he believes, is the source of his inspiration when designing shoes.
"You have to leave your imagination and your eye drifting and looking around," he explained at the time. "You have to be perceptive with any details in life." With homes in Egypt and Aleppo, he is no stranger to the Arab world, and his visits to the Middle East certainly seem to have paid rich visual dividends, with his spring/summer 2010 collection featuring many fabrics sourced in Damascus, including some vivid stripes.
So, in the spirit of a picture being worth a thousand words, we proudly present Christian Louboutin's Dubai-inspired shoes.