The Christian Louboutin Retrospective
Saturday 15 Jun 2013


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Household was asked to design the first ever exhibition for iconic French shoe designer, Christian Louboutin. Working with Donna Loveday, curator for the Design Museum, London, our brief was to create a celebratory retrospective exploring how over twenty years Christian Louboutin has pushed the boundaries of shoe design. Christian's desire was to give visitors unique insight and access to the brand, uncovering the inspiration behind his creations in order to create a must-see event.

Household's ambition was to challenge the expectations of this type of exhibition by combining retail design with art, culture and fashion cues to broaden the audience appeal. The richness and character of the brand meant making a big leap away from the traditional ‘white box' display that did not fit Christian's artistic personality. We created an innovative exhibition experience that moved from prescriptive chronological, linear plinths to an immersive space drawing the visitor through an unforgettable experiential journey, embracing landscape architecture, film and interactive technology.

Our creative concept was ‘showtime' inspired by Christian Louboutin's assertion that ‘every woman wants to be a showgirl'. We examined the sources of his inspiration to bring this ‘show' ambition to life. Transparency; Travel; Architecture; Entertainment and Handcrafted became the curated themes that house the collections of the show. These themes became feature experiences that flowed from a 17-metre long signature red sole ‘Showgirl' installation. At its pinnacle, a hologram of Dita Von Teese took centre stage. This was a unique commission directed by Ali Mahdavi, Artistic Director of ‘The Crazy Horse', Paris to enhance the theatrical concept.

The accompanying graphics layered with Christian's sketches and words give the exhibition his voice and the visitor a deeper understanding of each display. We also challenged conventional exhibition design by making the design development of the exhibition public.

The retrospective was a record-breaking success for the Design Museum attracting almost 1000 visitors a day. This is significantly higher than the previous record held by Manolo Blahnik. In 70 days the Louboutin exhibition was seen by over 65,000 visitors. The show is going on a global tour that will begin in Toronto from June 2013.