My once-ravenous appetite for overpriced designer shoes and handbags has mostly dissipated in the past couple of years. Unless I can get said designer item at an outlet or Nordstrom Rack, I probably won't be spending my hard-earned dough on it. But one item I've coveted lately is the patent black Christian Louboutin pump. It's classic, versatile, and distinctive.
Louboutins, like Manolos, were elevated to iconic shoe crush status by Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex & the City and later, loads of celebs. I've always assumed that the reason behind the desirability of the shoes was that they're actually extremely well-made and -- perhaps? -- somewhat comfortable. Silly me! Apparently, women only want them for their "trademarked red sole." Or so the footwear designer seems to be insinuating with a lawsuit filed against rival luxury fashion house Yves Saint Laurent last week.
In the complaint, Louboutin’s lawyers claim that Yves Saint Laurent’s red “Palais Pump” and “Palais Slingback,” with matching red soles, are “virtually identical” to his trademark. Louboutin wants an injunction against YSL (a subsidiary of Gucci) and damages that total $1 million! In the lawsuit, Louboutin whines that YSL lookalike shoes in Manhattan stores like Saks, Barney's, and Bergdorf Goodman were:
... likely to cause and is causing confusing, mistake, and deception among the relevant purchasing public.
Oh, give me a break! You mean to tell me that women who walk into those fancypants department stores are being deceived by YSL? Yes, I'm so sure, some real-life Serena van der Woodsen was hell-bent on buying those Fall '11 Louboutin mules, but whoops! She grabbed a pair of $1,125 python YSLs instead. The fact that they too have red soles made it just so confusing! Louboutin must really think his customers are morons...
Although the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office actually awarded Louboutin a registered trademark for his red soles -- which he first came up with when he painted soles of his shoes with red nail polish -- in 2008 (smooth move, USPTO), that doesn't make this suit any less ridiculous.
And get this -- YSL isn't their only target anymore! They're also going after Sao Paulo-based Carmen Steffens of Brazil for shoes with "rosette" soles. So now I guess their trademark applies to all shades of red.
Louboutin may be calling "unfair competition" with YSL and Carmen Steffens, but they just seem threatened ... and pathetic! If women want to spend the insane dinero it takes to own a pair of genuine Louboutins, we will. It shouldn't have anything to do with a stupid red sole. You can get a pair of shoes with a red sole at Target! Well ... maybe not, at least if Louboutin has anything to say about it. Pretty soon he's going to be suing strawberry farmers and the Red Cross for stealing his color!
I swear to Vogue -- Louboutin's gone overboard in the wacky department! His insistence on copyrighting a color is so crazy, it's actually kind of a turnoff. In light of this lawsuit, I may just save my $600 and buy my next pair of pumps from Payless!
Do you think Louboutin's lawsuit is insane?
Image via valeyoshino/Flickr