Would a red-soled stiletto by any other name than Christian Louboutin look as sweet?
Certainly not for the luxury French shoe designer, who passionately defended his court battle to protect his famous glossy red-soled shoes Monday.
Louboutin was in London to open a museum exhibition marking his brand’s 20th anniversary, talking to reporters about his inspirations and his rise to global success. But he also hit out at fellow French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent and its parent company PPR, whom he is suing for trademark infringement in a U.S. federal appeals court. A panel of judges has yet to issue a decision.
“What PPR does via Yves Saint Laurent is breaking my trademark, which I find incredibly offensive,” Louboutin told The Associated Press.
Louboutin’s lawyers have compared his shoe trademark to a similar one held by Tiffany & Co. for blue boxes – sparking a wider debate on whether a designer can own a color.
The 49-year-old designer, dressed in a red tweed jacket, jeans and steel-toed leather shoes he designed himself, argued that his rivals are wrong to accuse him of trying to monopolize the color red.
“I do not own a color. I own a specific color in a specific place,” he said of his distinctive soles.
A lower U.S. court had rejected a request by Louboutin to stop the sale of YSL shoes that are red all over, including the soles.
Louboutin shoes are one of the world’s most recognizable fashion items, and have been worn by celebrities from Angelina Jolie to French first lady Carla Bruni. The most popular style is 5 inches high, and his exhibition includes many theatrical boots and shoes with even higher heels.
“Shoes are objects of pleasure,” Louboutin said – though his high heels are famously uncomfortable to wear.
Low heels can sometimes be attractive, he said, but comfort is clearly not one of his priorities.
“I am not against comfort, but I don’t like the idea that my shoes are evocative of comfort,” he said.
But he wouldn’t go so far as to endorse foot surgery – nicknamed “Loub-jobs” after his shoes – that aims to ease the pain of wearing high heels.
“Frankly, it’s probably not a good idea,” he said.
The retrospective exhibition at London’s Design Museum traces Louboutin’s rise from a teenager fascinated by the feathered costumes of Paris’s cabaret showgirls to his stints at YSL and Chanel to setting up his first boutique in 1991. It also gives a glimpse into his creative process from sketch to execution, as well as including creations designed for a 2008 exhibition with director David Lynch which examines shoes as fetish objects.
Louboutin considers Kate Moss to be his English style icon, but said Queen Elizabeth II would be an interesting and challenging customer.
“She’s a woman, she’s a queen, she’s a full concept,” he said. “She is such a symbol.”
The retrospective show runs from Tuesday to July 9.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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