Christian Louboutin, the Paris-based shoe and fashion designer, recently explained in his beach house in Melides why he has so much love for Portugal. He clarifies that it is like a third home, he produces his shoes here and it’s the place in the world where he feels most comfortable.
Once he was asked “If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you be?” the short and assertive answer was “In my house in Portugal, in the summer”. Usually, he designs his collection in this sunny country, and this compound of low-slung whitewashed bungalows in Melides is the perfect spot for inspiration.
It’s not the first a beach village that he owns in Portugal he has an apartment in Lisbon. But this house in Melides is his latest real estate project.
He had previously had one in Comporta, which Louboutin used to frequent before it became a popular destination. “I received invitations to parties from people I didn’t even know,”. “Like I’m going to go to a party at your place when we haven’t even met? The thing is, on holiday I really don’t like to do too much.”
He was drawing when a deep paper cut sent him to the local hospital for a few stitches. “On the way back I popped by the road here and I thought, That looks nice, let’s have a look.” He discovered a small cottage on the other side of a rice paddy, and as soon as it became available to buy, he acquired it and transformed it into an atelier.
With the help of his former partner, celebrated landscape designer Louis Benech, the property’s landscaping was designed to be colorful but natural. Bougainvillea and trailing grapevines lead the way to the house from the road.
For the living room decor, her brought a ’50s Brazilian coffee table mixes with a blue Josef Frank couch, next to needlepoint tapestries by Alexander Calder. Also, green ’60s chairs by Hermès are next by a taxidermied tiger given by a friend and a chandelier bought in Portugal.
A massive deck joins three of the structures, making Louboutin’s bedroom easily accessible from the living room and kitchen. Social life at the compound revolves around this outdoor space, where a long table seats 10 on rush-wrapped chairs, mid-century designs attributed to T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings. Wide steps lead down the hill from the deck, creating bleachers whose sole purpose is to make it possible to observe the changing colors of nature.
Part of the outdoors is embellished with designer’s personal collection of rocks and tree stumps from Tucson, Arizona. Mora magical than this, just the two iron rhinoceroses that once served as décor for the 50th birthday party of Louboutin’s friend, the Turkish business mogul Ömer Koç, who shipped the pair to Louboutin as a surprise gift after the event.
Portugal is becoming a must-go country for the world’s leading names in fashion and design field. Portuguese designers are now injecting contemporary verve into statement pieces, combining traditional craftsmanship skills with luxurious materials and a forward-thinking aesthetic.