|The Stores Delivery Packaging|
Although I’ve been fashion-obsessed for years, I’m embarrassed to say that Christian Louboutin wasn’t even on my radar until about 2007. Yes, I owned a few pairs of Stuart Weitzman pumps, and had gushed longingly over countless Manolos and Jimmy Choos, yet I had somehow managed to go breezily about my days completely oblivious to the fabulousness of all things Louboutin! Then everything changed. I remember it like it was yesterday: I was home channel-surfing when I came upon a TV show featuring famed stylist Stacy London of What Not to Wear. It was called Fashion Fanatic, and I was immediately hooked. Compared to most of the other fashion programs on television, this one provided an in-depth look at various aspects of the industry with Stacy providing a behind-the-scenes peek at how our favorite designer pieces are made. Anyway, the episode that I will never forget was the “shoes and handbags” one. It was in this episode that Stacy, on location in Paris of course, introduced me to the magic of Christian Louboutin and his signature red sole, exploring the craftsmanship and creativity of the entire shoe-making process from initial concept through to the final creation. From that moment on, I knew that I would someday have to have a pair of Christian Louboutins.
|The Christian Louboutin Packaging|
Fast forward to last March when an otherwise cold and rainy day was suddenly brightened by an unexpected e-mail. Sometimes I think that I subscribe to just about every designer clothing and accessories mailing list in existence. Because I receive so many of these e-mails and don’t have time to read all of them during an average work day, I usually flag them to check them out later in the evening. Not today. Not when I opened my in-box to those three little words in big, bold type: “Christian Louboutin Sale!” This wasn’t just any sale – it was a flash sale, beginning at 12:00 noon sharp, with up to 60% off Christian Louboutin designer shoes! However, my initial euphoria was quickly dispelled when I remembered that I would be on a conference call at 12:00 noon. How was I going to make this work? I knew I couldn’t reschedule the call, but there was NO WAY that I was going to miss this sale. So, I immediately e-mailed a colleague who was also scheduled to be on the call, and basically said, “Hey, I’m going to be kind of silent around noon, so can you do me a favor and start talking a lot? Try to be as long-winded as you can because I don’t want anyone to realize that I’ve dropped off the call.” As much as I pride myself on being a multi-tasker, I knew that I would have to focus if I was going to snag a pair of Loubies in my size before they sell out. The conference call would just have to do without me.
|My first look inside a Christian Louboutin Shoe Box|
So there I was, sitting in front of my computer at 11:59 am, hitting the refresh button every two seconds until the big moment arrived. The sale had begun! Ignoring the work discussion that was emanating from my speaker phone, I set my sights on pages of extraordinary Christian Louboutin pumps, wedges, sandals and boots. Who knew that an online shopping experience could elicit so many emotions at once – exhilaration, anxiety, disappointment, glee…I felt all of them. No sooner would my heart jump with excitement than it would sink back down with the realization that yet another “perfect pair” wasn’t available in my all-too-common size 37. This happened over and over until, just as I was about to resign myself to the fact that my Loubie dreams would have to wait for another day, I saw them – a pair of size 37 Christian Louboutin platform sandals! Who cares that they’re fire engine red – a color that is decidedly far outside my classic style comfort zone? The same goes for the platform heel. So what if I have some problems walking? They’re Loubies!
|The Christian Louboutin Sandals (Check out the heels)|
I breezed through the checkout in record time, entering my credit card information with an intensity that my poor little keyboard hasn’t felt since. And then it arrived: The confirmation e-mail with the tracking number, telling me that they were shipped! I was so excited. Even with the mega-sale, the total charge to my card was $409.95. Not exactly a bargain basement price, but still more than 60% off and not far off the prices in this week's Christian Louboutin Sample Sale. My mission had been accomplished, and I refused to feel any guilt about my extravagance! My first post-purchase activity was to re-join the conference call, but I couldn’t concentrate. I was too excited. So, instead of participating in the discussion, I sent an e-mail to my colleague (who was still “covering for me” on the call) with the subject heading, “Shoes!!!” and the message, “I BOUGHT LOUBIES!!!” yes in all caps. Being a shopaholic himself, he shared my joy with a hearty e-mail congratulations while he continued to take the lead in the work-related conference call that was still going on.
It was only two days before my designer shoes arrived at my door. This in itself was a fantastic surprise since I had expected the shipping to take longer. I tore open the store's huge cardboard box and removed the duster bag to see the top of the shoe box. There it was, “Christian Louboutin,” written in that unmistakable Christian Louboutin font. I was beside myself with giddiness. I opened the box to see the most extraordinary red sandals that I could imagine. They looked exactly like the photo on the website – insanely high heels, sumptuous leather, precision stitching and, of course, the trademark Louboutin red sole. I had no idea where on earth I was going to wear them, but again, I didn’t care. I owned a pair of Christian Louboutin sandals and all was right with the world!
Rather, all was right with the world until I tried them on. In a sad scene reminiscent of one of Cinderella’s stepsisters trying desperately to squeeze her big, clunky foot into the delicate glass slipper, I had to accept the fact that my Loubies were too small. Even worse, I knew that I had no one to blame but myself. The website had clearly indicated that Christian Louboutin footwear runs small, and that we should order a half-size larger than we normally wear. But oh no, I chose to ignore their direction simply because I’ve had to go down a half-size with a few purchases in the past. What was I thinking?!
I was beyond disappointed. However, after a few hours of wallowing in self-pity, I went to the website to see if I could do a straight exchange for a half-size larger. No such luck. Everything was sold out. So, I packed them up, filled out the shipping form and brought them down to the UPS Store to return them for a refund. Then the funniest thing happened. After a couple of days I received an unexpected knock at my door. Opening it I saw a smiling delivery person holding the same big cardboard box that I had brought down to the UPS Store just a few days before. Although I had affixed the proper shipping form to the top of the package, I had forgotten to remove the original “Ship To” form from the side. They had shipped the fire engine red Loubies back to me :-) It seems that the shoe Gods definitely wanted me to have them! But sadly, I had to say goodbye to them once more and so I went through the whole process again and soon after I received an e-mail indicating that they have been received in good order and that the refund would be credited to my card.
From start to finish, the whole experience was a comedy of errors with highs and lows. I still don’t own a pair of Christian Louboutins, but I know the day will come eventually. As much as I hate to admit it, the end result was probably for the best. Being fire engine red, it would have been an awfully big expense for something that I might have worn only once or twice. I’m still very committed to getting a pair though! However, until I can find an equally amazing sale in a color that’s more “me” (Black!), my Loubie journey is on hold. When it finally happens though, I know that it will have been well worth the wait!