Christian Louboutin to display chapter II of his L'Exhibition[niste] exhibition in Monaco
Monaco serves as the iconic Parisian shoe designer’s second location for setting up his retrospective exhibition. The event entitled 'L’Exhibition[niste], chapiter II' is a sequel to the memorable exhibition held in 2020 to pay tribute to Christian Louboutin's career. Held at the Palais de la Porte Doréee in Paris’ 12th district in the east of the capital city, the exhibition underwent several closures prompted by the pandemic-induced confinements and health restrictions. Its second ephemeral summer edition headed to Monaco will welcome visitors to the Grimaldi Forum from July 9 to August 28.
“The first museum I ever went to in Paris was the Musée National des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie (renamed in 2012 as Musée National de l'Histoire de l'immigration) in Porte Dorée next to my parents’ house,” recalled Louboutin at an intimate press event last week about his first trip to the place that years ahead would host his grand exhibition. “And the first time I traveled to the south of France with my family, we went to the Oceanographic Musuem of Monaco,” he reminisced, continuing to describe his relationship with the principality: “Monaco is linked with my fascination with fishes. I love them, their movements, colors, and symmetrical shapes.”
The Mediterranean sovereign state’s Princess Caroline of Monaco has had a long-standing relationship with the luxury brand and was even one of Louboutin’s first clients. “At first she was like a fairy godmother, but now she is a friend,” said the designer, telling the story of how the daughter of Grace Kelly and Ranier III of Monaco dropped by his Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau boutique in Paris, as she was captivated by its window displays, in 1991.
"It was my first store. We had just opened, and they called me to tell me that the princess had bought several pairs of shoes," he said, explaining that at that time, when they were still sold in francs, "every purchase counted and was written down in a notebook." Shortly thereafter, W magazine journalist Heidi Lender described the store in one of her articles as one of the addresses of choice for Monegasque royalty. Every American department store buyer came knocking on Christian Louboutin's door, and Caroline of Monaco remains to this day a loyal customer.
Their relationship more than justifies the retrospective exhibition’s (Christian Louboutin, L’Exhibition[niste]) journey to Monaco, celebrating three decades of his career and curated by Olivier Gabet. “Nowadays, fashion is definitely recognized as an artistic expression in its entirety. The economic dynamisms it represents finds a resounding echo in its media coverage: it even redefines a form of access to the cultural sphere,” noted the Musée des Arts décoratifs curator, indicating that “for many visitors, fashion represents a gateway to the museum, especially for those visiting an exhibition for the first time."
This sense of democracy was echoed by Sylvie Biancheri, general director of the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, a cultural hub that has already held major exhibitions dedicated to artists such as Giacometti, Monet, or Turner. “Our philosophy is to be populist, not elitist,” assured the director, detailing that the exhibition is funded by the principality’s government, as well as by sponsors CMB Monaco, Mytheresa and Sotheby’s. “We are not profitable, but the government understands this perfectly. We want to be a cultural attraction as well,” she explained on organizing the ephemeral event during the summer, a high tourism season, that will keep prices attractive to young people and families. Tickets can be purchased for six euros through the online presale and 11 euros at the box office, while minors will have free access to the exhibition.
Spread over 2,000 square meters of "spectacular scenery", the exhibition also features a 300-square-meter room, the "Musée Imaginaire", where objects from Christian Louboutin's personal collection will be displayed in conjunction with heritage and artistic works from public and private collections of Monaco's museums. There will be no shortage of references to his love for art and Russian ballet, the pop influence of Andy Warhol, the photography of Helmut Newton or his aforementioned fascination with the ocean.
The exhibition will also feature a room dedicated to British artist Allen Jones, a pioneer of the pop movement that has been most recently marked by digitalization, and works by André Derain, Oscar Niemeyer, Ernst Haeckel and Gilbert & George.
Louboutin will be the star of the first half of the exhibition, devoted to his inspirations and scenographic work. More than 300 of the footwear guru’s designs will be showcased. “Pieces from my entire career will be on display. Even if I didn’t keep many of those created the first five years, I was able to recover some thanks to clients who visited the first chapter and reminded me that they had bought some unique pairs,” smiled Louboutin, grateful for the comments written in the exhibition’s guestbook.
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