Who’s Really Behind Chanel’s Iconic Quilted Ballet Flat?

christian louboutin chanel quilted flats

Photos: Patrick McMullan |

Christian Louboutin (left) and Chanel's Quilted Ballerina Flats in pearlized goatskin (right).

That red sole may be Christian Louboutin’s signature these days, but the prolific designer had a successful career in shoes before he ever launched his eponymous collection.

After an unpaid stint at the Folies Bergères, Louboutin took shoe designing gigs at Charles Jourdan, Maud Frizon, Yves Saint Laurent, and even Chanel—all before the age of 27—and at Chanel, the designer really made a mark. Louboutin reportedly designed the first quilted ballet flat.

“Everyone thinks it's part of Coco's DNA, that shoe,” Louboutin told the Telegraph. “But it hadn't been done before I got there.”

After leaving Chanel, Louboutin took a job at Roger Vivier, where he says he learned everything. When he left, he decided to give up designing shoes. “If you worked for Picasso, you wouldn't want to paint, so I thought, I love it, but it's got to stop,” he said. He even began training for a second career as a landscape gardener.

Thank goodness that didn’t last! Special edition Loubs, anyone