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The Nudes Collection

  • Object:

    Swatch book

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (Manufactured)

  • Date:

    2013

  • Artist/Maker:

    Christian Louboutin (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Card and metal

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Christian Louboutin

  • Museum number:

    CD.34:1-2-2014

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The colour nude is often used in fashion to describe a light peachy-beige tone representing the colour of Caucasian skin. In autumn 2013 the French fashion house Christian Louboutin launched The Nudes Collection, a range of shoes in five skin tones. This was the first time that a major fashion house had adjusted its definition of nude to include skin colours other than white.

Window displays used elaborately mounted mannequin arms to show how the new shades matched various skin tones. Arms were used instead of legs to avoid sensitivities in countries where the unclothed leg is taboo. As well as challenging perceptions of the term nude, the collection reflects the changing global economy, targeting women of different ethnicities in parts of the world where middle-class incomes are on the rise.

While Crayola changed the name of their Flesh crayon to Peach in 1962, the fashion industry is only just catching on. In 2010, British Elle editor Lorraine Candy defended the use of the descriptor nude as ‘a defined colour. It’s white nude, not black nude’. It is also the name of a tone in the Pantone Colour Matching System (12-0911). With his The Nudes Collection, Louboutin is challenging the dominance of this perception of white skin tone being the official nude; in doing so he is increasing the appeal of the company’s collections to a wider global audience.

Louboutin also released a free and very simple app for iPhone users to accompany The Nudes Collection. The app uses the camera on the phone to match individual skin tones to that of one of the five colours available in the range. Extremely limited in its functionality (not even linking to their online shop), it adds an extra dimension of fun and frivolous technology to the marketing of the Nudes concept.

Physical description

Swatch books, two swatch book with the 5 shades of the Christian Louboutin Nudes inside a white Chritian Louboutin Paris dust bag, 2013

Place of Origin

Italy (Manufactured)

Date

2013

Artist/maker

Christian Louboutin (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Card and metal

Descriptive line

Swatch books with the 5 shades of the Christian Louboutin Nudes, 2013

Categories

Rapid Response Collecting

Collection

Design, Architecture and Digital Department

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