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