Christian Louboutin and Disney are making magic once again. Following 2012’s reinterpretation of the “Cinderella” slipper and 2014’s “Maleficent” shoe, Louboutin has reunited with Walt Disney Studios to create a showpiece and a set of shoe designs for the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
A fan of the sci-fi franchise since the beginning, Louboutin created a pair of shoes for each of the film’s four female leads: Rey (Daisy Ridley), Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran). The commemorative styles are to debut along with the showpiece shoe on Saturday at the Los Angeles premiere of the latest episode.
The showpiece, a collaboration between Louboutin and Industrial Light and Magic (the visual effects studio founded by George Lucas), incorporates Louboutin’s six-inch Ballerina Ultima heel. The display will feature a hyper-realistic holographic installation and will be guarded by a set of Praetorian Guard members on the red carpet of the premiere.
“[Disney and ‘Star Wars’] are very, very strong at developing characters,” says Louboutin. “I have the same thing when I’m designing shoes. I often think of a character, so in a way for me, it totally makes sense to work around the character because that’s basically what I do.” He adds that his “Star Wars” designs are “a take on the characters from the movie, but also made for the actress.”
The Rey (Daisy Ridley) shoe incorporates a wrapped leather ankle strap — a nod to the harness she wears across her body. Louboutin used translucent PVC to evoke her Jedi powers and a blue strass heel reminiscent of her lightsaber.
“For Captain Phasma [played by Christie], it was inspired by the fact that you see very little of her without her helmet,” says Louboutin. “It’s an armor.” He used silver specchio leather yokes to mirror Captain Phasma’s strict, authoritative character.
The Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) shoe incorporates more supple fabrics to reflect her gentle, engineering character. “She’s more delicate, but then also very [technical],” says Louboutin.
For his fourth and final design, Louboutin mirrored the reserved Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Dern) by creating a style derived from the burgundy cape she wears.
The common thread between all four styles is the bespoke jewel designed with the Tie Fighter Spaceship in mind. “I love the ships that [the ‘Star Wars’ team has] been designing,” says Louboutin. “As every style is very, very different, I wanted to put a thread going from one to the other. So the thread which has been continuous is actually my interpretation of the fighter. It’s a feminine fighter.”
“Christian Louboutin’s shoes are truly functional works of art and it was such a pleasure to collaborate with him on the Nomad Shoemaker,” said Doug Chiang, vice president and executive creative director for the “Star Wars” franchise, in a statement. “The designs I create for films are meant to be experienced cinematically, while Christian’s have an intimate tangible relationship with their wearers. With this collaboration he has masterfully infused ‘Star Wars’ into his magnificent, one-of-a-kind creations.”
Following the film’s premiere, each design, signed by both Louboutin and the actress whose character inspired it, will be auctioned on charitybuzz.com/StarWars from Dec. 7 to Dec. 20, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Starlight Children’s Foundation on behalf of Star Wars: Force for Change. The showpiece will be added to the auction upon its reveal.
Speaking on Industrial Light and Magic, Louboutin says he found it easy to relate to the studio’s mentality. “There is always a side of them which is on innovation, but never forgetting the fairytale side of it and telling the story,” he explains. “This is where we are meeting in way. I really work on innovation — that’s the thing that I’ve always been doing in my work — but I always, always keep on the side [the] importance of femininity and importance of the magic.”
Louboutin admits he’s never worn a “Star Wars” costume — “we don’t do Halloween in France” — but he does own one iconic piece of memorabilia. “Of course, I have the helmet of Darth Vader,” he says.
When asked for his thoughts on the enduring popularity of the 40-year-old “Star Wars” franchise, Louboutin shares, “It’s a very smart melting pot of characters and it’s quite a worldwide story. The language is a very universal language. It’s very, very, very smart and sophisticated, but it’s just like when things are sophisticated to an extent that it really makes sense for so many people. It’s entertainment, but behind that, you have everything which has been beautifully thought and seriously thought. I think this is really the success of it.”
So what will Louboutin wear to the big premiere this weekend? “Anything but a cape. That you can make sure.”
The Darth Vader helmet will have to sit this one out.
Watch Christian Louboutin and Joe Zee talk about the Star Wars x Christian Louboutin collaboration below: