Christian Louboutin Slept in His Design Studio for 8 Years

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Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

When FIT president Dr. Joyce Brown approached Christian Louboutin about delivering the college's commencement speech this year, the designer was confused on one point. “Being French, I said, 'Commencement is the end? Isn’t it funny, because commencement in French means the beginning.' She said, 'Yes, but it is also a beginning.' So it started to be very confusing for me." Amid laughter, the shoe maestro also delivered some advice to the graduating class of 2014 at yesterday's ceremony. He addressed two sayings he often heard while growing up in France. The first was the French maxim “You should never sleep where you work." When he was starting out, Louboutin shared, "For eight years, I slept in my design studio. There were no showers, but I felt great.” He also learned to distrust the mantra “Timing is everything." Having started his company in 1991, in the middle of a recession, Louboutin told the students, “There is no such thing as the perfect timing. Listen to your inner timing. Listen to yourself.” Clad in a cap and gown and wearing a pair of gold slippers he had designed, the designer then donned an academic hood, which was, naturally, lined in red.