Battle of the Red Soles

Yves Saint Laurent, amazing shoes, Christian Louboutin, fashion court case, Louboutin sues, red sole

Yves Saint Laurent's shoes: they had a sole that matched the shoe colour.

Christian Louboutin filed a lawsuit against Yves Saint Laurent last month, claiming that YSL violated Louboutin’s red sole trademark. I totally disagreed with this lawsuit, as the collection featured several shoes, all which were in bold colours and had matching soles. While I can understand that Louboutin wants to protect his red sole, I thought his lawsuit was a load of crap. YSL’s collection feature shoes in several colours, a purple shoe with a purple sole, a green shoe with a green sole, and the aforementioned red shoe with the red sole. Don’t get your knickers in a twist Christian, just get over it.

Anyway, I was very pleased to hear that YSL is now suing Louboutin by saying that they have fraudulently obtained the sole “use” of the red sole (pardon the pun…) and they have no right to claim exclusivity of a red sole. The court papers go on to explain the following:

“Red outsoles are a commonly used ornamental design feature in footwear, dating as far back as the red shoes worn by King Louis XIV in the 1600s and the ruby red shoes that carried Dorothy home in The Wizard of Oz. As an industry leader who has devoted his entire professional life to women’s footwear, Mr Louboutin either knew or should have known about some or all of the dozens of footwear models that rendered his sworn statement false.” (Vogue)

Yves Saint Laurent, amazing shoes, Christian Louboutin, fashion court case, Louboutin sues, red sole

YSL (left) vs Louboutin (right.) Go YSL!!!

I have to say that YSL have a point here (and I like the snarky remark about Louboutin’s lack of expert knowledge.) While Louboutin should be allowed to protect himself from counterfeits, this YSL situation is clearly not that. I also feel that there should be more than just one “signature” to a brand, I mean, can’t Louboutin depend on his high quality, his designs, and his (tacky) celebrity following to uphold his brand status, rather than simply his red sole? I think he is being a total diva here, and I hope YSL wins this one. Then we can all run out and start footwear collections with red soles. What do you think?

P.S. I will tell you all about my Style Salons event tomorrow!

Images sources: red and green shoes, red soles.

  • Katie

    I was happy to hear that YSL is fighting this. At least it’s a big enough brand to foot the legal cost. I’m sure a smaller design house would have buckled under the threat of a lawsuit. There’s a difference between a counterfeit and the YSL shoe, which is clearly evident by the rest of the collection.

    Also, love your comment on the snark. While Louboutin is talented, that doesn’t entitle him to be a diva.

  • lisa

    When I first heard about this lawsuit, I had the same thought you did: the sole was only red to match the rest of the shoe, and the other shoes didn’t have red soles because their soles were colour-coordinated accordingly. Louboutin doesn’t have a (red-soled) foot to stand on for this one.

  • Jill

    I’m sure most of this is coming from Mr. Louboutin’s trademark lawyers, rather than from the man himself. I used to work for trademark lawyers and believe me, they live for this kind of thing. They’ll settle this one for sure, before it even gets to discovery.

  • Anonymous

    Very interesting, I never considered that as I don’t know the legal profession well. But I agree that it will probably be settled…

  • Janie Jones

    Very interesting post, I wonder how this will turn out.

    I LOVE Louboutins, the red sole is ICONIC, getting these tomorrow!!!!