Red Sole Man: Christian Louboutin's Signature Shoe Has Made Him an Icon


Sex, Louboutin admits, is a major influence in his designs. He said his red soles attract men, the way a bull is attracted to a red cape. But those famous sole have also attracted copycats. The designer was embroiled with a lawsuit, suing design company Yves Saint Laurent America S.A. for trademark infringement for using a fire engine red sole on their most recent line of pumps.

"Well, you know, it's, to be copied can be sort of taken as a compliment, but when it's to be really attacked, in a way... then I do not see it as a compliment," Louboutin said.

YSL's lawyers have argued that using the red sole for their shoes isn't trademark infringement because "no designer should monopolize a color," an assertion Louboutin rejects.

"I do not monopolize a color, I have put a color at a place where nobody has put it, and became, becoming iconic, as a trademark," he said. "I do not monopolize more colors, and Hermes is monopolizing the orange of their bag, or Tiffany has a blue. It's just the way it is. At one point, it makes part of your identity. It is my trademark."

Much more inclined to watch women try on his shoes than talk about lawsuits, Louboutin said wearing shoes is a study in psychology. For women who may not feel comfortable with their bodies, in his shoes, he said, they will at least like their feet.

"It's a part of the body with his sweet, also skinny, round and puffy," he said. "It still is nice."

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