At Christian Louboutin, the stiletto will never die. For many, buying the French footwear designer's classic patent nude or black pumps—the So Kate or the Pigalle, to use the official names—are a rite of passage, a symbol of arrival at the apex of high-end heels. But what's on display at the new Christian Louboutin boutique—the brand's first standalone store in Houston—is how much more there is to the brand.
Opening today on the first floor of the Galleria near Neiman Marcus (in the luxury wing between Miu Miu and MaxMara), the store was designed in concert with New York-based 212box, adding meaning and dimension to every detail. Even the front facade stands out with a studded camouflage pattern over a deep blue lacquer that hints at the many rock studded shoes within. The interior is split evenly between two separate spaces for men's and women's shoes, which stand out on display against walls of textured geometric wood panels or earthy, organic stone. As in every store, the carpet is bright red to match Louboutin's famous lacquered soles.
The benefit of a standalone boutique, according to a rep from the company, is that store managers can hand-pick the styles that are a match with the local market every season. In Houston, that means an outsize men's section featuring both colorful kicks and rock-studded, bedazzled loafers, as the city apparently boasts more than our share of bold, well-heeled men. The boutique is also the place to find Louboutin's more fun and fashion-forward styles, compared to the selection offered at a department store like Saks Fifth Avenue, which is catering to a more corporate customer.
And while the stilettos still abound, the fall women's collection is more about color and comfort, with block heels and flats in luxe fabrics as two major trends on display for women. Glitter and iridescent studs add pop to streetwear-style sneakers, while color-block velvet platforms and patchwork booties showcase a fun, almost crazy sense of style. You'll also find a wide selection of handbags, small leather goods and fragrance. And stilettos, of course—it wouldn't be Christian Louboutin without them.