Christian Louboutin is one of the world’s most prestigious labels, loved by celebrities who like to grace the red carpets with red-soled shoes to match.
The iconic label has been worn by everyone from Sex and the City’s Sarah Jessica Parker to Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery and burlesque artist Dita von Teese to Spice Girl-turned-fashion-designer Victoria Beckham, who wore Louboutins to the Prince and Princess of Cambridge’s wedding.
But while that signature flash of colour which lets everyone know your shoes are high-end designer is one of their most coveted features, even Louboutin admits the red doesn’t have much staying power.
A note on the designer’s website says: “Please note, the red lacquer on our soles will wear off with the use of the shoes. This is not a manufacturing defect of the shoes; it is usual wear and tear.”
Handbag Clinic, which counts Made in Chelsea’s Sophie Hermann and Stephanie Pratt among its clients along with Big Brother’s Imogen Thomas, has now launched a solution for those who like to keep their Louboutin soles red.
Managing director Ben Staerck said: “My wife has quite an extensive shoe collection and asked me if we could restore her Louboutins’ soles. She was thrilled with the results so we’ve decided to widen our range of services to offer red sole restoration.
“It’s exactly the same process our artisan restoration experts use for handbags. We clean the shoe, getting rid of any little stones, dirt and debris which have become embedded in the sole.
“If the sole is badly damaged, then we can fill and sand it so it is completely smooth, then apply the colour. If it a client simply wants a colour replacement, we can do that too.”
Handbag Clinic already repairs bags from some of the world’s most renowned fashion houses. Every day, bags worth tens of thousands of pounds from the likes of Hermes, Mulberry and Chanel are repaired at its clinics in Newcastle and on Chelsea’s Kings Road.
Now it is also turning its attention to shoes by offering a unique service for Louboutins.
Ben added: “I’ve heard all sorts of tales about how people try to repair their red soles, even resorting to going into B&Q and picking up a tin of red paint to brush onto them.
“We have special spectrophotometry equipment, which we’ve developed, so we can reapply the exact shade of Louboutin red. Considering that Louboutins cost hundreds of pounds, it’s natural fans of the label want to keep their fashion investments looking as good as possible for as long as they can.”
Two price bands have been set for the service: £39.99 for a colour application or £75 for a full repair including filling, sanding and colour.
Former model Charlotte Staerck received her first pair of Louboutins as a Christmas present from husband Ben and has just treated herself to another pair after securing a new job.
Charlotte, now a senior NHS procurement specialist, found the uppers of her Louboutins were in pristine condition but the soles had become worn so asked Handbag Clinic if they could repair them.
She said: “The red soles are a big part of why you buy Louboutins. You don’t want them to look scruffy whenever you lift up your foot.
“I didn’t want to just stick red soles on the bottom. I wanted them to be fixed up properly so they looked as good as new.”
As well as Louboutins, Charlotte is a fan of Jimmy Choos and sees her extensive shoe collection as an investment she will wear for years to come.
Charlotte, who has worked as a model for magazines and well known brands such as the Vermont Hotel, lingerie label Talullah Love and for bridal boutiques added: “I haven’t counted up how many pairs of shoes I have, but my shoe cupboard covers a whole wall.
“A pair of Louboutins is an investment as they don’t follow fashions. They’re classic, timeless pieces you can wear season after season, so long as you can continue to restore those all-important red soles.”