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Attention shoeaholics: a look at Louboutin's finest heels

The designer talks about comfort, inspiration and his trademark red soles at the opening of a show at the Design Museum in London

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French shoe designer Christian Louboutin was in London on April 30 to open a museum exhibition marking his brand's 20th anniversary. He spoke to reporters about his inspirations and his rise to global success.

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The retrospective exhibition at London's Design Museum traces Louboutin's rise from a teenager fascinated by the feathered costumes of Paris's cabaret showgirls to his stints at YSL and Chanel to setting up his first boutique in 1991.

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Louboutin shoes are one of the world's most recognizable fashion items, and have been worn by celebrities from Angelina Jolie to French first lady Carla Bruni.

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The most popular style is five inches high.

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'Shoes are objects of pleasure,' Louboutin said - though his high heels are famously uncomfortable to wear.

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'I am not against comfort, but I don't like the idea that my shoes are evocative of comfort,' he said.

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By putting a foot in a heel, 'you are putting yourself in a possibly orgasmic situation,' Louboutin once said.

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Low heels can sometimes be attractive, he said, but comfort is clearly not one of his priorities.

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But he wouldn't go so far as to endorse foot surgery - nicknamed 'Loub-jobs' after his shoes - that aims to ease the pain of wearing high heels. 'Frankly, it's probably not a good idea,' he said.

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Louboutin considers Kate Moss to be his English style icon, but said Queen Elizabeth II would be an interesting and challenging customer. 'She's a woman, she's a queen, she's a full concept,' he said. 'She is such a symbol.'

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'When I design for a women, I always think of her naked,' the designer said cheekily. 'And I haven’t yet met a girl who wants to have shorter legs.'

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While speaking to press, the French shoe designer also passionately defended his court battle to protect his famous glossy red-soled shoes.

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He hit out at fellow French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent and its parent company PPR, whom he is suing for trademark infringement in a U.S. federal appeals court. A panel of judges has yet to issue a decision.

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'What PPR does via Yves Saint Laurent is breaking my trademark, which I find incredibly offensive,' Louboutin said.

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The designer argued that his rivals are wrong to accuse him of trying to monopolize the colour red.

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'I do not own a colour. I own a specific colour in a specific place,' he said of his distinctive soles.

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The exhibit also includes a display of shoe lasts by the designer.

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The exhibition will run at the Design Museum from May 1 to July 9.

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