09 September 2007

Christian Louboutin sees red (soles)

Not being one to read fashion magazines I had not heard of Christian Louboutin until I came across an article in today’s Independent . Apparently he’s a “shoe maestro” (as opposed to the Austin Maestro) and “stiletto-maker to the stars”, who love the exclusivity of his creations (ie, they are ridiculously expensive) . What makes his footwear distinctive is............... a red sole (Is that it?).


Louboutin is so angry that other shoe designers have copied this feature that he is attempting to trademark his red soles in the US. If successful he may try to do the same in the UK. Retailers such as Asda (owned by Walmart) may be prevented from selling Louboutin lookalikes. The designer's attack was sparked by an outbreak of “Louboutin fever” (The Center for Disease Control report no fatalities as yet) that has seen a BMW advert featuring a woman snapping off the right heel of a red-soled pair of stilettos so she could go for a drive, and so on and so forth. A New York-based footwear brand oh...DEER! is trying to block Louboutin's move by filing an opposition with the US Trademark Office.


Louboutin first started to used the red sole in 1992 after applying red nail polish on a whim. "The shiny red colour of the soles has no function other than to identify to the public that the shoes are mine... It attracts men to the women who wear my shoes," he told the US Trademark Office (oh yes, we men really look at what shoes a woman is wearing before noticing other, more obvious, attributes). Susan Scafidi, a law professor who edits counterfeitchic.com, said Deer Stags' best hope of beating Louboutin would be to claim "aesthetic function" for their own soles in that the red matches other parts of their design.


When the not-wife saw the article she agreed with me that it was just another manifestation of the bullshittery that is the bedrock of the fashion industry. She pointed out that red heels and soles (or at least sole edges) were fashionable among the rich in the 17th century. This article at the truly fascinating website The Salacious Historian’s Lair confirms this,. I can quite understand, say Chanel trade marking its crossed C logo but red soles??? Then again there was an attempt some years ago to patent turmeric.


Perhaps Louboutin’s should look at litigation against Watermelon snow. Apparently walking on watermelon snow will often result in the walker getting bright red soles, for free (oh the horror).

Personally I think Louboutin was inspired by the humble Rickettsia, the tick borne bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. A red rash on the sole is a common symptom of this disease. There was heroin chic some years ago; Louboutin is surely the pioneer of disease chic.

11 comments:

Roger B. said...

Red soles?

R. soles!

jams o donnell said...

Well said that man!

Siani said...

The fashion industry is so full of the brown, stinky stuff, it really is. I hope Mr. Lobotomy, or whatever he's called, fails miserably in his legal bid. In fact, I hope world governments make it mandatory for ALL footwear to be manufactured with red soles, including £1.99 plastic jelly shoes from Primark.

jams o donnell said...

The fashion industry exists to give Ad and PR execs something to look down on. Perhaps the fashion nazis should be forced to wear Primark

Yuehshan said...

I work in the fashion industry and the red sole of Chrisitan Louboutin shoes is very distinctive. Whether or not another brand could use the same would be another story. However, when one with knowledge and an upper class shopping habit happens to see a pair of heels with red soles, there is no doubt that they are a pair of Louboutins. Can it be patented? I would think so, just as other brands can patent their colors as well. Could Walmart run an add featuring all red and get away without Target suing them? Most likely not, it be imposing on the brand's Image. Not to mention that the material, the sheen, and the look of the red sole were meant to make the brand distinctive, which it has been successful at doing.

jams o donnell said...

Come on, isn't it just a style? Could someone patent the mini skirt? I can fully understand firms trademarking logos but a red sole is surely pushing it.

Steve Bates said...

Do I understand this correctly? Louboutin has NOT already trademarked the red soles, but is planning to trademark it now that other manufacturers are using it? and there's evidence of prior art from the 17th Century? Awwww, give me a break! This has to be a bid for publicity, not a serious attempt to trademark a color after-the-fact.

I suppose if Communists would admit to having them, they'd have Red souls... <grin_duck_run />

jams o donnell said...

LOL Steve. shoes have souls too! To me it's fashion and thus bullshit!

Anonymous said...

why are you fashion philistines even bothering to open an article about laboutin if you are just going to ridicule him and his signature style? His red soles are an ingenious marketing tool and all you sad fucks are just sorry you didnt come up with it. You can't attempt to ridicule him with claims that the red soles were around since the 17th century, there were fast food stalls in the victorian era, does that mean ronald is an idiot for coming up with McDonalds because "its been done" and he shouldnt make any money off a used idea. Laboutins shoes are the best, which is why you pay more; and i for one flash my sexy red soles with pride. his stilletos are pure art, and the most comfortable 6"rs you will find. So why not have a signature colour and celebrate it? all of you haters just can't afford them, get back to your commics.

jams o donnell said...

Ah Anonumous I am glad you have got the day's bile out of your system. I hope the rest of the day in a state of zen like bliss

Anonymous said...

Today, Christian Louboutin well known in the world, there are many designers, many design examples of new women demands. Obviously, the design of Christian Louboutin always makes people feel so fresh, each season Louboutin maximizing the purpose of beautifying the heels.
christian louboutin