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CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN

Born in France in 1963, Christian Louboutin first started dreaming up fantastical footwear in his early teens. He was expelled from school at age 16 and started working for famed shoe designer Charles Jourdan two years later. In the early 1990s, Louboutin launched his own line of women's shoes. He added his legendary red soles in 1993. In 2003, Louboutin expanded into women's handbags. He then started up his men's shoes line in 2011.

Louboutin set up his own shop in Paris in the early 1990s. He found the inspiration for his trademark red outer soles in 1993. "My assistant was sitting there, painting her nails red. I took one look and decided to color my soles red as a statement for the season," Louboutin told Footwear News. "I thought, 'Oh my god! Red soles are so flirtatious,' and my customers asked me not to stop." His artistic yet sexy shoes soon attracted the likes of Princess Caroline of Monaco, one of his early customers. Madonna wore his dangerously high heels in some of her videos, helping to introduce the world to Louboutin.

Over the years, Louboutin has continued to turn out season after season of imaginative footwear. "For inspiration, I often imagine a courtesan living out her life in a circus," he explained to Marie Claire magazine. He has turned his surrealistically beautiful shoes into an international success story.

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