Christian Louboutin has lobbed a trademark infringement suit against Yves Saint Laurent for coloring the soles of its red shoes red, a seemingly harmless aesthetic decision made to create an entirely red shoe (left).
Of course the folks at YSL KNOW that when you see a red soled shoe its a) a Loub or, 9 times out of 10, b) a cheapo knock off, but when you’re a luxury goods supplier you cannot in good conscience make a red shoe with a contrasting or (no, don’t say it!) beige bottom! Who would pay $3,000 for that?!
It also appears that YSL did some research – pre or post-red sole decision, it’s hard to tell – and discovered that not only did red soled shoes exist prior to the 1970’s, but they were worn by the king de le country de fashion, Louis XIV! And as the NYT so wonderfully points out, Dorothy came along decades before Mr. Louboutin “invented” the color red circa 1970-something, as his lawsuit seems to claim in so many words.
The thought that this could be a publicity stunt is a legit one in my mind – after all, all press is good press – and with Loub only seeking one million in damages, well that has to be the amount he makes in a half day’s work.
Maybe it really is for the principal of things: Fashions a competitive field, don’t I know it from my brief foray into the fold earlier this month, but I am pretty sure that attacking anyone who makes a red soled shoe is not going to fly with the likes of Nike and Puma (below, left).
Or maybe Loub should quit the monkey on everyone else’s back and worry about his own red soles becoming less and less red (below, right)?