By THE NATION
WHEN THE NEWS spread that the world-renowned footwear designer Christian Louboutin was coming to Bangkok to celebrate the opening of his flagship boutique at Central Embassy, Thailand’s fashionistas flocked to the luxury mall in the hope of catching a glimpse of their hero.
The Frenchman is of course best known for his red-soled stilettos worn by the likes of Lady Gaga and Madonna but on this visit he was far more focused on introducing his spring and summer 2016 Men’s collection.
The collection focuses on the core of the Louboutin man. Traditional styles are modernised with updated fabrics and colours, and versatility is highlighted through styles ranging from new sneakers to formal evening footwear. Bold colours, intricate embroidery, and mixed materials stand out in a refined collection that maintains classic Louboutin charm.
An intricate construction of rich patina calf and hand-finished details belie the sleek silhouettes of the clean Cousin Greg oxford and slip on loafer So Dandy. Meanwhile So Charles, a derby with a Blake-stitched sole and traditional brogue accents, and Mortimer, an elegant double buckle strap with double stitching, take men of style from the boardroom to any evening affair.
Surprising pairings of fabrics and print on traditional lines bring vitality and a sense of newness to shoes like the Dandelion, which is encased in the vivid Pavot weave. Casual classics are similarly given a makeover, with the BipBip Flat elevated in boldly coloured saffiano leathers.
The Louboutin man knows how to make a statement and is able to do just that with such new styles as the Mr Blake, a sleek derby of contrasting calf and veau velours, and So David, a refined opera slipper boasting subtle spike detailing.
Evening styles are a wardrobe essential, and this season’s offerings range from the romantic Degra, which sees gold metallic spikes arranged in a degrade effect from toe to heel, to the detailed oriented Gwaliorissimo, available in a richly embroidered version or with an audacious modern spike.
The sneaker selection includes the Louis Strass Multi, hand embellished with 11 shades and four different sizes of strass crystal, the Lou PikPik with a shocking pink neon trim and fluorescent laces and the Bold Sporty Dude.
Women of course are not forgotten, with the designer choosing as his muse a woman of the ’50s. A daydreamer with a taste for the exotic and a rich fantasy life, she – like Louboutin himself – is endlessly inspired by her surroundings. The colour palette is varied, with earthy Noisette brown juxtaposed with elegant Ballerina Pink plus plenty of saturated brights and neons. Louboutin brings his vibrant Hawaii Kawaii print to textured black or white leather, showcasing it on the classic Dorissima 120, the new Solasofia Flat, the much-loved Pigalle Follies, and Seava, a new low profile sneaker.
For his Girls Best Friend collection, Christian imagines a woman in a simple black gown, with a beautiful, bejewelled shoe as her only adornment – simplicity at its finest.
Available in styles ranging from a flat to 70 and 100 heel heights, the Spring/Summer 2016 collection offers an evening shoe for every woman. New strass applications include Clair de Lune, which features multi-coloured crystals set in harmonious clusters. Hand-set on a lush veau velours and a natural Python Roccia, Clair de Lune debuts on classics So Kate, Lady Peep and Dorissima and on the Pigalle Follies flat, Boat and Louis Woman sneakers.