The designer of the most coveted shoe in the world is a well-known figure. His celebrity followers are too numerous to mention, but are instantly recognisable when that red sole is flashed every time they pick up their feet. This wildly successful and highly recognised trademark has appointed Louboutin far above the already dizzying heights of desired couture. Popped a crown on his sweetly balding head and there it has stayed snug and happy for many a year.
It was inevitable that other houses would try to snatch the trophy away and while all is fair in fashion and war, I wouldn’t have expected the challenge to come in the form of a hissy fit. But Yves Saint Laurent, one of the oldest designer houses around, has literally stolen Louboutin’s idea and a) won't admit it or b) give it back. Their actions are leaving a taste in my mouth which has definite arsenic undertones.
It started when YSL’s recent line included complete colour block, an idea which includes the sole of each offering being the exact same shade as the upper shoe. Fair enough, but their ‘Tribute’ heel in patent red therefore has a sole the exact colour of Louboutin’s. Louboutin has trademarked his red sole and therefore saw this as a blatant attempt to copy him, therefore his team insisted this be withdrawn from the line. YSL’s argument that colours can’t be patented was taken seriously by at least one judge that ruled in their favour, now the two houses are in the midst of a court case about the colour red!
Not life or death stuff I agree, and brand as grand as YSL behaving this way is just damned petty but the same can’t be said of Louboutin. If this were ignored or, worse still, should the ruling be upheld every Clarks, Dune and Primark will gleefully be running down to Homebase, bulk buying tins of rouge and splashing it all over the soles of shoes that have not received the Louboutin touch. As perception is all that matters Louboutin could find himself in the same position that Burberry were in when their most recognised tartan was copied and adopted by those they would have considered less desirable.
Having a coloured sole isn’t the problem. Blue, pink and even dogtooth patterned undersides have filtered down to the high street and the likes of Red or Dead have decorated their soles with an array of colours and designs with no problem. It's YSL's choice of that exact red that is the sticking point.
It’s not as if YSL are particularly hard up, their profits were $964.50 million last year so they don't need this to start up their struggling business. Though I haven’t experienced what YSL shoes are like, I am in the incredibly lucky, blessed and damned fortuitous position to own some Louboutins. And yes they do cost more than a sane person would consider parting with for shoes, they are also mind numbingly beautiful, made of incredibly soft leather and for 4 inch platform heels, surprisingly comfortable.
Mr Louboutin (who rumour has it, has the spiritual backing of Tiffany’s - no doubt closely watching to see if their duck egg blue is the next colour on the chopping block) is obviously quite capable of fighting his own battle and has hired a troop of lawyers to spank the arse of YSL. To me this really does seem like the big rich frumpy kid trying to bully the big rich popular kid just because for the first time in their life they’ve been told they can’t have something.
With the ridiculous amount of destruction and terrorism in the world, a court case about bloody stupid idiots fighting over shades of scarlet seems as ridiculous as Kim Kardashian’s sham of a marriage but a bully is a bully so my point is really just this. YSL you don't need to be this pathetic you just need to grow up and go find your own niche!