By AA Patawaran
Images by Mark Bumgarner
It was not shoe king Christian Louboutin’s first time in the Philippines, it was his second (the first he might have spent on business with a brief escape to Amanpulo).
This year, however, might have been his first time to see the country with its best foot forward—yes, Louboutin-clad, too. Feted to dinner after dinner, during his short stay, Christian was also among the many distinguished guests at the 16th Philippine Tatler Ball last Sunday at the grand ballroom of the Shangri-La at the Fort, the first ever to be held on a Sunday and so far the most attended, with over 500 of Manila’s upper crust turning up in their tuxes and in their long designer gowns custommade for the occasion. At the dinner, he happened to be seated right beside Love Marie Ongpauco Escudero, with whom—as one of the performers, Regine Velasquez, dragged the audience to the dancefloor somewhere between dessert and the announcement of this year’s Philippine Tatler awardees—he let his Louboutins glide to the dancefloor, only to return to his seat after Regine’s cover of “I Will Survive” to wait until the music was turned up again.
True enough, no sooner than the program was wrapped up had Christian stood up, in his arm practically his date for the night, Love Marie, more popularly known as Heart Evangelista, who only two years ago walked down the aisle alone and bravely in sky-high Louboutins to meet her now husband, Sen. Chiz Escudero, at the makeshift altar in Balesin.
Heart and Christian hit it off at first hello. “It was magical, he was very sweet and down to earth,” said Heart, when I asked her how he found the French shoe craftsman, whose red-lacquered soles have swept the world off its feet.
They have a lot in common. They are both crazy about shoes. They both love music and dancing. They are both, despite their fame, a little shy and surprisingly introverted.
And like Christian who, more than a shoemaker, is an artist, she, too, more than a style celebrity and pop star, is a painter.
Through art—the love of things that move the senses, that make the heart leap, that touch the soul—a bond was made from such an encounter that went directly from introduction to dancing in Louboutins.