Not many royal families boast such a strong aesthetic imprint to their legacy as the 16th century House of Tudor. From exquisite ornamentation of clothing to epoch-defining architectural style, the dynasty impressed like none other. Taking on this expansive spirit, Christian Louboutin imagined a collection for women and men celebrating these early power dressers, innovators who recognised a greater purpose in dressing, harnessing impactful design as a display of authority.
Evoking the opulence of the courtly colour palette are rich crimsons Carmin and Orthodoxe, deep greens Veronese and Lagune and regal Purple Pop, painting a portrait for the season ripe with imperial attitude. Fabrics take note from history with laser-cut velvets in a traditional Tudor motif emulating tapestries through an intensive fabrication process utilising three layers of fine cut velvet. Hardware details, hand-selected by Christian Louboutin, reference European-style, cabochon-domed gemstones popular at the time, while engraved pyramid studs, diamond shapes and pearls are redolent of the majestic garb of King Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
Acknowledging the powerful female monarchs of the period, the designer approaches women’s styles with equal parts strength and femininity. Tudor Ball sandal in 100 and 120mm heel heights features a statement ankle strap of engraved gold pyramid studs and white pearls on a fetish heel in black veau velours. A candy-coated version mesmerizes in a blend of yellow Cubiste and Purple Pop veau velours with gleaming stud and pearl embellishments, reflected in an exotic, laminated Python Scarabée heel. Her successor, Tudor Sandal 120 is backed by a multicoloured Tissu Viennois and adjustable straps that cross over the arch of the foot. Replicating the ornate styling of crown jewels, the sandal dons the same decorative elements as Tudor Ball, with the addition of an intricate nappa bow decked in pyramid studs, pearls, chains and colored gems. A collection centerpiece, the style gathers elements from four different manufacturers before hand-assembly and finishing, signifying the importance of old-world craftsmanship and idolization of rare objects at the collection’s core.
Elsewhere, plush materials including velvet and moiré appear, accented by another uniquely embellished and hand-crafted bow, a much-loved design signature for Christian Louboutin. Royalty ascends to the throne with opulent gold accents on Tudor Trott 100, Tudor Net 100, Tudor Plate Flat and oxford heel Coleslaw 100 wrapped in swaths of luxurious, gold-threaded Tissu Viennois. Incorporating the Tudor art of tapestry, lavish laser-cut velvet appears on clutch Véro-Dodat and the thick-heeled Tudor Soir 100 with contrasting jet black moiré. Slip-on sneaker Tudor Quick Flat reinvigorates the motif with modern ease. Playing off contemporary dressing with sophisticated nonchalance, velvet Mary Jane Top Street 100 dons a thicker, sporty welt and block heel contrasting with its lush Velvet Miaou heel.
Taking stately styles to a common ground is Tudor Young ballerina flat with a side-revealing, semi d’Orsay construction in Lagune and Purple Pop veau velours. A youthful incarnation with elaborately ostentatious style, the flat is accented with subtle engraved pyramids and the collection’s principal bow. On leathergoods, Loubiposh clutch in veau velours pays tribute to ceremonial jewels with magnificent red, blue and green cabochon gemstones and diamond-shaped studs. Playful Triloubi, a convertible shoulder bag with chain detail and three spacious zipped compartments, honours the theme as well, with a wash of Tudor Spike embellishments on several new colourways.
Boots with a courtly twist retire to the bedchamber this season, revealing a hint of skin beneath transparent fabrics, another design signature of Christian Louboutin. Tudor Boot 120 in nappa and fine rete teases with a bodice-like latticed leather construction, topped with engraved studs and finished with a new conic heel emulating square silhouettes of the period. Alluring with intimate lace on a curved body, Hotero Strass 100 in a Purple Pop French dentelle guipure is accentuated by veau velours trim and front lacing whilst multi-coloured hand-placed strass decorate its fetish heel. From dressing quarters to the Tower of London, Praguoise 100 nods to contemporary weaponry in bold gold nappa with mace-like gold flocked spikes in two sizes acting as lethal armour. Véro-Dodat clutch in Python Cuirasse sports a laminated and brushed python in rich antique gold recalling age-old suits of armour whilst battle-ready knee-high Barbarevea 100 in supple Carmin veau velours bears a tantalizing cut-away at the foot, trimmed in fine black calf—no ladies-in-waiting here.
Securing the throne for the Louboutin Homme is regal Tudor Night flat, boasting a sculpted toe with an all-over, laser-cut velvet in autumnal Orthodoxe and Lagune. Impressive embroideries pay homage to art of the Tudor court; an intensive purl knit stitch embroidery applied on Dandybee Flat renders three-dimensionality with articulated wings creating movement through dense layering of bullion thread atop a velvet body. College De France Flat in royal navy and gold incorporates a scroll motif from traditional gold and silver cantille embroidery finished with a new “Loubi For Ever” coat of arms. Inspired by jewel-encrusted clothing of Tudor portraiture, the new Trictrac features exclusive men’s embellishment of solid cut pyramids, flat-top studs and diamond-shaped studs.
Establishing a modern code to ornamental dressing, the Christian Louboutin Autumn/Winter 2016 collection resurrects the histories of English royalty with a markedly contemporary twist, giving new meaning to the phrase “dressing with distinction.”