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Holy Crap, it’s Christian Louboutin!!!

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

On Thursday, October 23rd 2008 DailyCandy – Atlanta informed me that Christian Louboutin would be signing autographs at Jeffrey in Phipps Plaza the very next day.  No thesaurus ever written could describe my euphoria at the fact that I could actually meet THE Christian Louboutin in person.

The next day however, my giddiness soon turned into fear and apprehension.  I covet Christian Louboutin’s shoes for the craftmanship and quality they possess. . . .everyone else waiting in line seemed to be there for his celebrity status.  They bought/wore his shoes because it was the “in” thing to do and all of the who’s who of celebrities were seen in them.  Then I heard that he was only signing shoes. . . .new shoes that were purchased that day and never worn.  Shoe School was expensive, not to mention all of the materials and equipment that I now needed in order to keep progressing, so I was not prepared to shell out $500+ on a pair of shoes that day.  Besides, I wanted him to sign my book.  The book that holds all of my shoe-making notes/inspirations/sketches/lists/lessons learned/etc.  Despite my reservations, I remained in line. . . .for almost 2 hours.

When I was less than 5 women back from the front of the line, the husband of the lady behind me (who was in line for her daughter) joined his wife in line and started chatting with me about why I wanted to meet him so badly. . . .cue waterworks. . . .yes, I literally started crying in line before I even met the man.  Through the tears I managed to spit out all about Shoe School and that shoes were my passion and I eventually wanted to be Christian Louboutin.  The husband then shocked the hell out of me and asked me for a business card.  Of course I didn’t have any but it really touched me that he recognized that my passion was genuine and he was all about supporting that.

I finally get to the front of the line and hold my breath as the security guys asked Mr. Louboutin’s assistant if he would sign my book.  They reluctantly waved me through but warn me to be quick (for paying customers were still waiting).  I sat down next to Mr. Louboutin and had an amazing conversation with him.  I told him my story, he gave me some advise, and he signed my book:

christian_louboutin

Here are some more pictures of Christian Louboutin that day.  There are two adorable pictures of him playing with a baby, several of me sitting and talking with him, and one of the shoes he was wearing underneath the table.

Pictures from Shoe School – Sept08

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Everyone has been asking for more pictures of my shoes in progress but unfortunately the first couple of pairs that I made on my own I did not thoroughly document.  I did, however, take several pictures while I was at shoe school so here are some of the ones of my original oxfords in progress:

My starter shoe-making tool setThis was my workstation at shoe school.  All of the tools and notebooks shown were included in my tuition.  After shoe school, they boxed them up and FedExed them home for us.  The black material shown was the start of my “toolbelt” that we were instructed to make for our tools during any downtime we may have.

My oxfords in progressI was so excited to get started that I totally forgot to document the first steps.  This is a picture of my shoes after the liner has been barged to the inner sole and the heel counter barged onto the liner.

Heel counters and whip stitchingThis is a photo of the heel counters and the underside of the outer leather before I barged the two together.

Toe CapThe material at the edge of the shoe where the toes are called toe caps.  They are a type of material that is stretchy when heated and coated in barge.  The heat activates the barge, you stretch it and then form it over the toe area of the last as shown.  Once it cools it hardens and is what maintains the shape of the shoe at the toes.

Me bargingHere is a picture of me barging the liner leather where I will soon heat and shape the toe cap over this area.

Me lasting my first pair of shoes at shoe school.Here’s a picture of me lasting the outer leather of  my first pair of shoes.  The instructor made it look so easy.  It took forever for me to get the hang of it.  There are so many variables that you have to keep in mind at all times including pulling the leather taunt but keeping the material centered on the last, making sure the edges are smooth, etc.

Sanded bottom of shoeThis is what the bottom of the shoe looks like before the sole is attached.  Once you have lasted the outer leather to the bottom of the inner sole, you cut off the excess leather, trace the hole that is left behind, cut out a piece of cork from the trace, barge the cork onto the inner sole and sand the entire bottom smooth.

My shoes right before soles are attachedHere are my shoes after they have been lasted and sanded and right before the soles are attached.

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Picture of my shoe on the lasting jack after I had barged the sole on.

taking-my-shoe-off-the-lastThis is me taking my shoe off the lasting jack.  They are almost complete!

me-wearing-my-shoesMe wearing my shoes that *I* made!

My completed shoes.My completed shoes!

The birth of Candi Cobbler

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Hi! My name is Candi and I love shoes. . . .so much so that I decided I wanted to learn how to make them (for I rarely am able to find the “perfect” pair of shoes with all of the characteristics that I am looking for). I found an intense shoe-making workshop out near Seattle, WA and there started my journey in becoming a cobbler shoe-maker.

At that workshop, I learned how to make a pair of oxfords by hand. Seriously, all by hand. The only machine used in the process was a sander. We even did all of the stitching and cutting out of the materials by hand. Since then, I have been practicing and perfecting my craft. I have learned numerous valuable lessons from each pair of shoes that I have attempted to make. A good friend suggested I start a blog to document my progress, so here is where I would like to share my journey with whomever is interested. . . .

My progress has been slow, but I was prepared for that. Materials are hard to come by and the equipment is expensive. My objective is to eventually create a business and my own designer label from this but that will take time. Thanks to my amazingly talented uncle I do already have a logo though. This is my dream and I do not want to ruin it by jumping in too soon. Right now this is a hobby, a very expensive and time-consuming hobby. . .and I am loving every minute second of it.  :)

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