Christian Louboutin has had better months. Recently the designer was panned in a New York Times tribute to the re-rise of Manolo Blahnik which described Louboutin as having ” most effectively hijacked Manolo Blahnik’s thunder and a chunk of his market, using an arsenal of gaud and ostentation…” In a widely reported piece, the author went on to say:
Unlike Mr. Blahnik, Mr. Louboutin seemed to revel in borderline vulgarity. What, after all, is a red sole but an update on the comedian Minnie Pearl’s custom of wearing her hat with the price tag attached?
Ouch. Injury was then added to insult when Louboutin recounted how a French academic had linked putting on high heels with having orgasms:
She said that what is sexual in a high heel is the arch of the foot, because it is exactly the position of a woman’s foot when she orgasms. So putting your foot in a heel, you are putting yourself in a possibly orgasmic situation.
Predictably there were some people on the internet who didn’t fully agree with the maestro (Someone lied to Christian Louboutin about how sex with women works is one of our favourites) and Louboutin was probably more on the money when he pointed out that “There is an element of seduction in shoes [for women] that doesn’t exist for men. A woman can be sexy, charming, witty or shy with her shoes.”
However the media were more interested in the orgasm angle, funnily enough.
Meanwhile, earlier this month Louboutin filed an appeal against a New York judge’s decision not to grant his label an injunction against the sale of red-soled pumps by Yves Saint Laurent. The decision, which bordered at times on scathing, found that a “broad spectrum of absurdities… would follow recognition of a trademark for the use of a single color for fashion items.”
Judge Victor Marrero pointed out that “in the fashion industry color serves ornamental and aesthetic functions vital to robust competition…” For good measure, the judge also noted that the Louboutin trademark was too vague as it sought to extend protection to all “lacquered red” high heel soles, which raised issues about whether that covered all of the many shades of red and just how buffed a sole had to be before it infringed Louboutin’s trademark.
Perhaps things are looking up for Louboutin with news yesterday that jeweller Tiffany & Co has filed an amicus curiae brief to support Louboutin’s case on appeal that a colour can be trademarked. Tiffany has a vested interest in that it has filed for intellectual property protection relating to its own coloured packaging.
Meanwhile, life at Louboutin rolls on. The red eel peep-toe pumps pictured above are new arrivals at net-a-porter, and come with a 6 inch heel and a £537.50 price tag. Orgasms included.