In 2022, the great annual art exposition is devoted to the work and creativity of Christian Louboutin and his close ties to the Principality.
After an inaugural exhibition at the Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris in 2020/21, which largely fell victim to the ongoing public health crisis, Christian Louboutin’s redesigned show L’Exhibition[niste] travels to Monaco this summer, offering a fresh take on fashion and style. The 2,000 square metre scenography at Grimaldi Forum highlights new works linked to the designer’s Monegasque inspirations as well as recent artisanal collaborations
Rather than a classic retrospective, the exhibition has been conceived as “a pleasure cruise through three decades of abundant creativity”, marked by a curiosity for cultures and arts at large.
At the heart of the exhibition, the section called “Musée Imaginaire” brings together objects from Christian Louboutin’s personal pantheon, as well as indigenous and artistic works borrowed from public and private collections, including Monaco’s museum collections.
Recurring themes of the designer’s work are featured here: his love of dance and the legacy of the Ballets Russes, his passion for African and Asian art, Andy Warhol’s influence on pop culture, Helmut Newton’s photographic genius, and his fascination with the oceanographic world.
Shoes naturally take the spotlight, with a selection of exceptional and unique pieces on display. But the designer’s objective is to pay tribute to those who inspire him and make him dream.
The exhibition therefore also presents exclusive œuvres created by Christian Louboutin in collaboration with other artisans: the eight stained windows of Maison du Vitrail, the silver palanquin crafted in Seville by Orfebrería Religiosa Villarreal, or the theatre sculpted in Bhutan… an entire room carved, painted, dismantled, and shipped across the world.
L’Exhibition[niste] also takes a look at Louboutin’s different projects with artists such as the photographs of the director David Lynch, the video work of Lisa Reihana, the leather sculptures of the English designers Whitaker Malem, the choreographies of Blanca Li, the work of the plastic artist Imran Qureshi, all of whom have inspired him. An immersive space, especially created for this exhibition, is dedicated to the current collaboration with British sculptor, painter, and pop artist Allen Jones.
How do all of these diverse objects come together and what connects them? During the 2020 Paris exhibition that the Monaco show is modeled on, the designer explained its genesis and his vision in an enlightening interview with our colleagues from The New York Times.
For the Grimaldi Forum, this exhibition “is a profound and joyful celebration of art through the eyes of a legendary contemporary designer, Christian Louboutin”. And as the maestro says, “Unless you are in the fashion world, you just see the result of the collections. You don’t see where the designs are coming from. It’s nice to show people the many different aspects of your world.”
Christian Louboutin’s life has been the stuff that fairytales are made of, vacillating between highs and lows. Born and raised in Paris in 1963, he grew up in a lower-middle class family with three sisters. His scholastic career was less than stellar; the youngster ran away from home and dropped out of school at age 12. But he did not let his difficult start in life stand in the way of his rising talent and success. His Egyptian heritage on his father’s side has gifted him with an innate sense of vibrant colours, flamboyant design, and confluent cultures, and shaped him to become one of the world’s most ingenious, eclectic fashion creators. Today, Louboutin owns over 70 bespoke boutiques all over the world.
The Parisian designer notably was credited with bringing stilettos back from the vaults they had been banished to since the 1960s. Among his first clients was Princess Caroline of Monaco whose complimentary comments in the media squarely put him on the radar of the fashion world. Diane von Fürstenberg and Catherine Deneuve followed swiftly. Since then, fans of his trademark red-soled shoes include royalty, celebrities, and of course anyone who wants to make a statement with their footwear.
L’Exhibition[niste] is scheduled to run at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco from 9 July through 28 August 2022. Also check the venue’s website for other interesting events and shows year round.
Grimaldi Forum Monaco
10, avenue Princesse Grace
MC 98000 Monaco
Tel: +377 99 99 20 00
All photos courtesy Grimaldi forum, Monaco, credits as indicated; lead image By Claudio Conti, Director – Christian Louboutin – Documentary, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46363923