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Christian Louboutin: 'Sportswear can be sexy'

Christian Louboutin: 'Sportswear can be sexy'

Christian Louboutin believes there is a place in the market for sexy sportswear.

The famed footwear designer has partnered with French online retailer to supply uniforms for the Cuban delegation for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which kick off on Friday (05Aug16). Featuring nods to Cuban heritage, the outfits include sharply tailored jackets in red for men and beige for women bearing the Cuban flag on the breast pocket and a five-pointed star at the back. Of course, footwear is a key element of the look, with styles including a calf leather high-top trainer for men and a kitten-heel sandal in red and blue leather with a white star for women.

Speaking about the project, Paris-born Louboutin, who is known for his red-soled luxury shoes, says he was pushed to develop his athletic aesthetic, but was pleased with the result, which he believes reflects his own style sensibilities and brand.

“First of all, I think sporty can be sexy. I’ve been doing a lot of shoes for men for the past five or six years and they’re popular with people in the field of entertainment,” he told WWD. “Just as my shoes for women speak to the showgirl in every woman, there is also a showman in every man, and all great athletes also deliver a great show.”

Louboutin worked with the founder of, former professional handball player Henri Tai on the designs, and they were created within a Parisian atelier. However, the range will not be made available for purchase by the public.

Louboutin has an affinity for Cuba, having first visited the island 20 years ago, and regularly returning for vacations. The inspiration for the uniforms came about organically, with the designer noting he was inspired by everything from the Tropicana (a well-known cabaret in Havana) to the architecture and the music, colours and the people in general.

“The designs fit perfectly with the elegance, style and beauty of the Cuban athletes and with Henri’s vision of what looks good on an athlete,” he smiled.

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