On now at the DX is a retrospective of iconic french shoe designer Christian Louboutin (1963-). Known to have helped bring back the stiletto in the 1990s and 2000s, Louboutin has taken this form to new heights (literally) and has exercised unconventional and fanciful materials (fish skins and flower petals). While Louboutin innovates by pulling inspiration from the theatrical, his artistry is undeniable. He has a sensibility for the classic femininity and has expanded his practice from these beginnings. Remarkably, Louboutin has only been a business since 1991. In 20 years, he's established himself as one of the most desirable luxury brands, selling 600,000 shoes annually at approximately $250 million, while being incredibly prolific in his design practice. This exhibition really does showcase just how expansive his career has been in such a short time period.
With all do respect to the beautiful shoes and the remarkable life and career of Louboutin, I did have more than a few criticisms of the curatorial choices made for this exhibition. The signature red soles were lost against the red display platforms. Also, the space felt like the set of Moulin Rouge and made me feel claustrophobic with overstimulation. I also question how progressive the 'fetish' room (featuring photographs of naked women wearing Louboutin creations that contort the feet into oppressive shapes) is to female sexuality in contemporary society.
If you have a passion for his shoes (and Moulin Rouge), this is a must-see exhibition, otherwise save your $22.50 (the cost of the exhibition ticket) and bank it for a future shoe purchase.