When you see a pair of “red bottoms,” as the urban world has so affectionately come to label Christian Louboutin shoes, you know who they belong to, and the French shoemaker wants to make sure things stay that way.
A week ago the luxury label battled with another well-known French fashion house, Yves Saint Laurent, in appeals court in an attempt to overturn a decision made by Federal Judge Victor Marrero last August that denied Louboutin’s request to stop YSL from selling a line of shoes with red tops and bottoms…
“Louboutin’s claim would cast a red cloud over the whole industry, cramping what other designers could do while allowing Louboutin to paint with a full palette,” Judge Marrero wrote in his opinion, suggesting that the trademark the brand was granted in 2008 to use red for the soles of it’s shoes was given in error. He argued that color performs a creative function and doesn’t identify or advertise a commercial source. “Louboutin would thus be able to market a total outfit in red, while other designers would not.”
Attorney Harley Lewin argued strongly against that suggestion before a three-judge panel, noting that red soles are synonymous with his client’s brand.
“Christian Louboutin has created one of the more iconic trademarks of the 21st century. Louboutin turned a pedestrian item into a thing of beauty.”
YSL’s counsel, David Bernstein, of course, wants Judge Marrero’s opinion to be upheld:
“Artists of this type need the full palette of colors available. In order to compete and compete fairly, we need red. We don’t want to find out that we can make green, blue, purple shoes… but we are enjoined from making red.”
Louboutin has the red-bottom signature for their footwear, what can YSL do that is just as visually powerful, taking this wonderful branding idea to the 1000th power? Why didn’t the YSL designer(s) consider this, instead of risking the brands hard earned image and status. One reason, the quick buck…
That’s how Seaki Nelson, owner and founder of Seaki Creative Services, a design based out of NYC and fashion industry veteran, started to talk about Louboutin’s protection of this brand.
We found his interesting text at seaki.wordpress.com and wanted to share with you.