While the lawsuit filed by shoe designer Louboutin against fashion house Yves Saint Laurent alleging infringement of his signature (and trademarked) red-sole is being appealed… a surge of thrifty fashionistas have begun painting the soles of their shoes red to imitate the designer look.
Evidently sales of glossy red paint have rocketed in the UK … increasing by 40% for the red shades such as “Flame” and “Show Stopper.” Paint shop keepers are giving tips for painting on leather… and are surprised and happy about this new trend… and spike in red paint sales.
Interestingly, taking a brush in hand and painting shoe soles is exactly how the designer Louboutin claims to have created his first pair of red soles too.
“In 1992 I incorporated the red sole into the design of my shoes. This happened by accident as I felt that the shoes lacked energy so I applied red nail polish to the sold of a shoe. This was such a success that it became a permanent fixture…. I selected the color red because it is engaging, flirtatious, memorable and the color of passion. It attracts men to the women who wear my shoes. The red-soled shoes were an immediate sensation, and clients specifically came in to my stores looking for my red-soled shoes. The red sole quickly became my signature.” – excerpt from a declaration made my Christian Louboutin, in support of the trademark application for his red-sole-design mark
Celebrities and famous actresses are often seen wearing Louboutin shoes which sell for $450 – $4,645 a pair, on the Barney’s website… which is a significant footwear investment. By comparison, the thrifty fashionistas who are taking a paint brush in hand and painting their soles red… are spending a few dollars on tester-sized pots of red paint.
For more information: The case is Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent America, 11- 3303, U.S. Court of Appealsfor the Second Circuit (Manhattan) [click here for Louboutin’s brief and YSL’s brief and Judge Marrero’s 8/10/11 Decision: http://www.nylj.com/nylawyer/adgifs/decisions/081111marrero.pdf]; Red Sole USPTO Registration # 3361597; http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG9389255/Cash-strapped-women-are-painting-their-shoe-soles-red-to-get-the-Louboutin-look-for-less.html; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/10/louboutin-shoes-red-soles_n_1662364.html; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.