When Louboutin defended his red beak and nails


“Who hasn’t heard of Louboutin’s red soles? It’s one of fashion’s most commented on legal soap operas, and for good reason: it’s worthy of a great series! », launches Ingrid Zafrani, lawyer at the Paris Bar, specialist in intellectual property law. Since 2006, the luxury shoemaker has been engaged in a legal battle, with many twists and turns, to protect this famous feature that has been copied many times.

Christian Louboutin has told the story dozens of times, as you do with any good story. In 1993, the prototype of a silk satin shoe arrived at his studio, sent by his Italian factory. Surprised that it does not correspond to his sketch, the creator looks for the error. The room just seems bland to him.

By examining it from all angles, he understands that the sole, made of a thick black material, is not visible in the drawing. Seeing his assistant painting her nails a bright, deep red, the designer spontaneously borrows the bottle from her and begins to paint the sole. Louboutin red was born.

A brand too greedy

From the outset, success is there, much more than expected. American stars are crazy about these pumps with vertiginous heels and scarlet soles. Rihanna, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez (who even dedicated a song to them, Louboutins), Sarah Jessica Parker, all appear in Louboutin stilettos, propelling them to the rank of pop culture object.

But who says success says copy… “Being copied can help you become famous, but it can also ruin you! In the history of sewing, copying has always been a plague. When you are plagiarized, there is no other way than to defend yourself, moreover when you have built your brand on a distinctive element: at Louboutin, its entire strategy revolves around the red sole. All his shoes have it.” explains fashion historian Xavier Chaumette.

Also listen Christian Louboutin: “A woman wears high heels because she wants to wear high heels”

Of the 2006, the shoemaker therefore decided to defend his creation tooth and nail. But the results are not there. “Season 1 of the soap opera was bad, luckily there was a season 2…”, comments Ingrid Zafrani, referring to the first lawsuits, lost, by the Louboutin house. In France, in 2012, she failed to defend her red sole against Zara. She accused the Spanish giant of having copied one of her models, the Yoyo, a shoe with an open toe and… red sole. Invoking counterfeiting, the shoemaker argues that he filed the red Sole trademark with the National Institute of Industrial Property.

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