Scarlet: The Soul of Red

By Jo Phillips

Soles of scarlet, fingers of green, Rakes Progress magazine turn their main story of Christian Louboutin’s gardens into ten day exhibition. The man who is synonymous with scarlet red soles has likely taken inspiration from his garden.

Rakes Progress a new gardening and style magazine and Christian Louboutin was so thrilled with the images that photographer Jane Hilton took of his gardens that they have decided to exhibit them. Entitled Digging His Heels In, the magazine will present an exclusive exhibition of pictures of Christian Louboutin’s exquisite private grounds at Château de Champgillon, a property he has co-owned with his business partner Bruno Chambelland for more than 25 years.


The garden is as beautiful, surprising and playful as his trademark shoes and thrives with trees, plants, prized peonies, Chinese and Japanese wisteria an Orangerie growing kumquats and mandarins. A set of exquisitely produced prints captures the sensory pleasures of a rarely-photographed garden that Louboutin has made from scratch. In fact, the famous shoemaker swerved towards gardening as a career, the landscape of fashion footwear looks very different indeed. He had dropped out of school in Paris at the age of 16, gained, by pure luck and charisma, an internship at Christian Dior after meeting Countess Hélène de Mortemart and had worked briefly as a secretary to Roger Vivier. In 1988 he made a sideways career move and began working on topiaries and gardens while he contributed to Vogue, before realising that his true passion was in fact to design shoes, and founded his eponymous line in 1991.


Christian Louboutin will open the exhibition on 1 December with a private view and it will be on show for a week. Visitors to the pop up will not only be able to enjoy a fascinating insight into Louboutin’s hitherto hidden passion for gardening, but they will also see three stunning floral installations from some of London’s leading florists – the Urban Flower Company, Palais Flowers and Jam Jar. All echo Louboutin’s house and garden, including an entire wall of floral panels created by the florist Melissa Richardson and inspired by the French designer’s bedroom in the chateau, which is covered floor to ceiling with antique pressed flowers.
The garden, explains Christian Louboutin, is his mood board and the two disciplines relate. He says, “When I think of what colours look good together on a shoe, it’s usually ones that I have thought look good together in the garden. I don’t make moodboards, this is how I research.”


Digging His Heels In is on at 13 Floral St, London WC2E 9DH until 8 December 2017

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