He’s best known for his signature red-soled heels and recently branched out into beauty, but could accessories designer Christian Louboutin be mulling a clothing line? He’s certainly been putting in some practice as codesigner of the official non-performance outfit for the Cuban national team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio this summer.
Louboutin teamed with former professional handball player Henri Tai on the red-centric designs, to be worn by the athletes at formal occasions including the event’s closing ceremony. Tai is founder of SportyHenri.com, a fledgling French men’s e-concept store specializing in activewear and lifestyle clothing.
Featuring nods to Cuban heritage, the athletic-chic silhouette was also designed with input from the athletes themselves through a series of custom fittings in a Paris atelier. Unveiled at a global launch in Lisbon, Portugal, on Thursday hosted by actor and former Olympic athlete Pedro Lima, the outfit centers on sharply tailored jackets in red for men and beige for women bearing the Cuban flag on the breast pocket and a lucky five-pointed star at the back.
Footwear is also a key part of the look, bien sur. Styles include a calf leather high-top trainer and Naza Star loafer style for men and a kitten-heel sandal for female athletes.
“It’s that elegance and fluidity of movement of someone who is so in control of their body that fascinates me. At the Olympics, it feels like these athletes put on performance gear and simultaneously turn into these superheroes that defy gravity, that defy time, that defy all rules of physics,” said Louboutin. “We designed the celebratory outfit for the moment they turn back into humans, still in that glory moment, still in their light but heading back to the real world.”