Christian Louboutin’s name is synonymous with glamour, sex, style, and ultra-high heels. Born and raised in Paris, the legendary shoe designer worked for Charles Jourdan and Roger Vivier—his particular mentor, often cited as the inventor of the stiletto—before going freelance, working for leading fashion houses Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. He launched his own business, and his first boutique, in 1992, and he says that “red is more than a color—it is a symbol of love, of blood, of passion.” Red soles have become Louboutin’s signature, featuring across his extraordinarily diverse (and intensely covetable) designs. Louboutin has designed for musical icons from Tina Turner to Beyoncé; expanded his chain of boutiques across the world; and collaborated on a fetish collection with David Lynch, In 2020 a retrospective, “L’Exhibition[niste],” was held at the Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris. We sat down with Christian to discuss his eclectic design process and unpick his vast collection of references.