MILAN — Christian Louboutin is entering the eyewear arena, marking a further step in its strategy to dress consumers toe-to-head.
On Thursday, the luxury label and Italian eyewear manufacturer Marcolin said they inked an exclusive global licensing agreement for the design, manufacturing and distribution of the brand’s sunglasses and optical frames. The deal will run through 2029.
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Building on the brand’s expansion into beauty in 2014 and the launch of new categories such as kids and pets in 2022, the label’s first eyewear collection will bow for spring 2025 and will be distributed in a network of selected stores worldwide.
“Christian Louboutin is progressively rolling out a strategy to become a complete lifestyle luxury accessories player and the eyewear and sunglasses categories are a natural extension for us,” said the brand’s chief executive officer Alexis Mourot. He defined Marcolin as the “ideal partner for this strategic partnership as they share the same vision for creating objects of desires of an outstanding quality and instantly recognizable creativity.”
Marcolin’s CEO and general manager Fabrizio Curci also said this was a “memorable partnership,” underscoring that being picked by the French label for its debut in the category “proves once again that the market recognizes Marcolin’s unique know-how in the design and manufacturing of luxury products of the highest quality.”
In sync with the brand’s positioning, the Christian Louboutin eyewear collections will fall within the aspirational cluster of the eyewear segment and will feature signature elements nodding to the shoemaker’s iconic codes.
While additional details are still under wraps, red lacquered elements are likely to appear on the frames, further building on the longevity of the brand’s distinctive sole element. This originated in 1993, when an early prototype of a silk satin shoe dubbed “Pensée” arrived to Louboutin’s studio from the Italian factory but didn’t match the shoe maverick’s sketch nor expectations in terms of optical energy. The legend was Louboutin noticed his assistant’s red nail polish and asked her for the bottle to paint the shoe’s sole on the spot.
Louboutin originally established his business in Paris in 1991 with a women’s shoe collection. Men’s footwear was added a few years later. The shoemaker revealed plans to embark on his first major brand extension with the Christian Louboutin Beauté line already in 2012. Two years later he made the move official by launching the first products, aptly opting for a range of nail polishes in a nod to the brand’s history and housed in strikingly tall, spiky bottles.
After adding kids’ and pet lines to his brand’s offering, the shoe guru further expressed his lifestyle ethos by opening his first hotel in the village of Melides, Alentejo, in Portugal, where he’s owned a holiday home for years. Called “Vermelho,” meaning “red” in Portuguese, the boutique hotel was unveiled last year.
The shoe brand is the latest addition to Marcolin’s rich portfolio, which includes 20 licensed brands such as Tom Ford, Max Mara, Zegna, MCM, GCDS and Adidas Original, to name a few. Founded in 1961 and based in Longarone — in Italy’s Veneto region, which is known for being an eyewear manufacturing hub — Marcolin distributes its products in more than 125 countries and also has two proprietary brands, Web Eyewear and Ic! Berlin. The company took full control of the latter last year, as reported.
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