First of all, we have to give Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica some credit for even getting into the new Christian Louboutin men's boutique, which he reviewed in this week's Thursday Styles. It isn't the kind of store that The Shophound would blithely ignore, but we have tried on at least three occasions to visit only to find it closed in the middle of the day for some sort of special construction reasons. It has been annoying to say the least, so kudos to Caramanica for finding it open.
It might not really matter to most of us when the store is open anyway, because, as our shopper describes, the prices of Louboutin's shoes are "shocking". Several years ago, the designer was known as a refined, inventive alternative to stiletto king Manolo Blahnik, but then his platforms met a platoon of Hollywood starlets and stylists who found the next status symbol in his signature red soles and an aesthetic of "more is more" evolved. You might not think that his "everything but the kitchen sink" philosophy would have translated to men's shoes, but in the age of Kanye and Pharrell, high profile male style setters have discovered the pleasures of selective flamboyance, and as our shopper describes his visit,
...the store was never not full, with a mix of would-be hip-hop moguls, frequenters of Pacha, even a woman in respectable olive green No. 6 clogs. Many just stared, and more than you’d think tried things on, given that the prices go past the shocking and right to the insane. A guy with a snakeskin-motif bandanna draped out of his back pocket tried on patent leather slip-ons under the guidance of a woman in a distressed rocker T-shirt that screamed stylist’s assistant: in a room of extremes, they appeared perfectly at home.
So maybe the store doesn't really need to be open regular hours. Maybe it's really like a hot nightclub where the doors magically open when an Escalade pulls up to the curb or a New York Times reporter comes calling. Whatever. It sounds like our shopper is there more as a tourist than a serious customer. Maybe he needed his cooler friend to help get him through the door. One day, maybe, the novelty will wear off, and the store will be open when we are in the neighborhood so we can see finally this place for ourself.
Critical Shopper: Spikes or Soles, It’s a Man’s World By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Christian Louboutin Men's Store 808 Washington Street between Gansevoort & Horatio Streets, Meatpacking District