Christian Louboutin, born in France in 1963 with rebellion in his bones, was expelled from school at the age of 16. He then decided to learn the ropes of the shoe industry and ended up working with Charles Jourdan in the 80s and was mentored by Roger Vivier. He created his own line of women’s shoes in the early 90s adding the flirtatious red soles were in 1993 which are now the symbol of the highly sought after luxury label.
Most Louboutin stilettos have unique combinations of materials and textures which is a testament to the high attention to detail in both the design and the craftsmanship of the shoes, which is exactly what we love to see in the atelier. We received a pair of the iconic ‘Follies’ heels that shimmered from every angle with crystal embellishments and they were finished, of course, with the unmistakable red sole.
When they entered the atelier, the glittered heels were damaged and the heel tips were missing. The damage on the heels was so severe we were unable to restore it, so instead we needed to replace it. As the leather covering the heels was a unique leather developed by the brand, our approach was the remake this in order to replace it.
In addition to the heel damage, the sheer mesh of the upper had some crystals missing that needed to be re-set.
Our artisan analysed the technique implemented in the creation of the original material and determined that the glittery leather needed to be developed on a suede base. So, we sourced a soft beige goat suede and three shades of ultra-fine glitter to layer as the top coat. A combination of metallic powders were tested and mixed to create the perfect colour combination and the colours needed were a blend of white glitter, light gold and silver.
An adhesive was spread on the leather to ensure the glitter would adhere thinly and evenly, and it was then was sprinkled on top. This then needed time to dry before the process was repeated a second time and then it was left to cure for a week.
THE RESTORATION / THE PROCESS
The shoes then went straight to our shoe specialist in order to remove the heels, the old leather and fit the new leather as if they hadn’t been touched.
The first step was to unglue the emblematic Louboutin red sole from the back of the heel. The next step involved ungluing the insole in order to remove the nails joining the heel to the sole and taking it apart. Following that, the old leather was unglued using a heat gun that activated the old glue making it easier to pull off.
The pattern for the leather piece that would recover the heel was traced and cut. Neoprene glue was applied both on the plastic body of the heel and the back of the new leather and it was glued together. Our shoe specialist needed to stretch the leather towards the outside to make sure there were no wrinkles and bubbles on the heel which was then glued and carefully trimmed.
The heels were finally re attached with new nails, the inner sole was glued down and so was the red sole covering the back of the heel. The final step of the process was to hammer in new heel tips in order to make the stilettos fully functional again.
The sparkling shoes went back to the restoration department for the finishing touches; a final protective top coat was sprayed in order to secure the glitter powder and make it durable.
We sourced a perfect match of the crystal studs that scatter the upper mesh, paying attention to size, colour and the faceted cut of the gems and replaced the ones missing.
They were finished after a final polish and returned glistening and ready for the red carpet.
If you find any of your items are missing embellishments our team of artisans are experts at sourcing a closest possible match to the original to replace them for you. We have a variety of leathers we can use to replace the leather on your heels if they get tear or get caught in grates, it happens to the best of us! You can request a preliminary quote via our online form and the team can assist you with all your needs.