12 sultans of style

From iconic designers to luxury group titans, power has never looked so good. Fortune traveled the world to photograph the men and women who personify the business of style.

The Cobbler
The Cobbler
Like the tail fins on a '57 Cadillac, the red soles of Christian Louboutin's shoes are both elegant and sensual. Since 1992, his creations (retailing at $520 and up) have inspired a cult following on runways and red carpets alike. Louboutin, who recently launched a handbag line, sells to department stores and plans to double the number of retail boutiques to 18 by 2009. Now he faces a familiar tradeoff: Expanding the brand's reach without diminishing its cachet.

Photographed in his atelier in Paris

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