Shoe Wars: Christian Louboutin vs. Yves Saint Laurent

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By: Maria Lago, guest blogger

Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent are two brands synonymous with luxury.

Both are fabulous in their own right and very coveted by women all over the world including the most famous of celebrities.

So why would YSL blatantly take Christian Louboutin‘s signature red sole and put it on their shoes?

In my opinion, if YSL was trying to take on the genious of the red sole and apply it to their line, maybe a good suggestion could be a different color?

Yves Saint Laurent has already dabbled with this idea using the very vibrant color yellow and I like it!

It definitely gives the shoe a certain trendy style that resembles that of Christian Louboutin’s signature look.

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Alexander McQueen and Paris Hilton are two shoe designers who opted for different shades of pink for their soles.

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Paris Hilton Footwear with light pink soles

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Alexander McQueen hot pink soles

Christain Louboutin not only is suing YSL for putting red soles on their shoes, but he is now giving the same fate to Brazilian designer Carmen Steffens.

Within one week, Mr. Louboutin has sued two shoe designers for the same offense.

Is it fair that he gets to take the color red and make it his and only his?

Well… I think since he did patten the idea in 2008 it gives him the right to be the only women’s shoe designer to bear the mark.

Though there’s one problem, Carmen Steffens is claiming they have been using the red sole as well as other colors on their soles as early as 1996, a little more than a decade before Christian Louboutin patented his.

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Yves Saint Laurent shoe with red sole

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Carmen Steffen shoe with red sole

Gabriel Spaniol, Carmen Steffen’s international development director had this to say:

“We are ready to provide unassailable evidence that we have been using colored soles, especially red, before Mr. Christian Louboutin popularized his.”

Carmen Steffen’s camp continues to say:

“[the label] finds it surprising that another brand is trying to reserve the rights to any color, the tones are not the same, and, as catalogs dating from 1996 can prove, Carmen Steffens shoes contain soles of all colors, including red.”

Besides his shoes being the crazy and funky designs that set Christian Louboutin apart from both YSL and Carmen Steffens, the red sole is a trademark that puts him on top of the game.

In 1992 Christian Louboutin took red nail lacquer and painted the bottom of a pair of shoes because as he put it, the shoes “lacked energy”, that’s ultimately how he came up with the idea of giving his collection the “splash of red.”

The red sole gives his shoes a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that makes all the ladies love them, much like LL Cool J’s appeal in the 90s.

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Having the gorgeous shoe with the red sole gives any woman more confidence when knowing that others know she’s wearing Christian Louboutin and wearing Christian Louboutin makes her extra special.

Celebreties and pop culture have made Christian Louboutin an icon in the fashion world.

In the beginning of the Sex and the City series, there was much talk about Manolo Blahnik but as the seasons progressed, Christian Louboutin shoes were one of Carrie Bradshaw‘s favorite designers trumping the popularity of Manolo Blanik on the HBO Original Series.

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The popular red sole can be seen on famous feet on red carpets and premiers on a daily basis.

“Who are you wearing!!?” questions are shouted about with the majority answering “Christian Louboutin!!” when refereing to their footwear.

Some celebrities will even put up with injuries to wear the gorgeous shoes.

Case in point, Kim Kardasian on the red carpet for her birthday in Las Vegas this year, actually drew blood when wearing a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes with spikes.

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Other celebrities who weren’t injured while wearing the red sole staple include, Megan Fox, Ciara, Alessandra Ambrosio, Renée Zellweger, Chrstina Ricci and Halle Barry.

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Celebrities aren’t the only ones that rock the Louboutins like rock stars!

I happen to have a few pairs and they truly are as magnificent as they say.

Ask my friend Kristy Rotonde who is also a huge fan of the brand and recently was photographed in her engagement photo session wearing the signature red sole.

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Kristy gushes:

“Every real girl should have the chance to slip on a pair of Christian Louboutins and feel the ‘red sole’ obsession!”

Christian Louboutin shoes are sold in stores all over Manhattan including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Barney’s and according to the French designer, this is causing a confusion among buyers.

Christian Louboutin’s camp says in a statement:

“[this is] likely to cause and is causing confusion, mistake and deception among the relevant purchasing public.”

Christian Louboutin is activley seeking over $1 Million dollars in damages from both brands, this isn’t a lot of cash given the value of all brands involved.

Clearly Christian Louboutin is not out for money, he’s out to prove a point and keep his brand to be the one and only to bear the mark of the red splash on their shoe.

He can sure sleep tight knowing that from now on no other shoe can reap the benefits of his idea, since he is known world-wide as being the shoe with the red sole.

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Whether Christian Louboutin wins the law-suit or not, especially against Carmen Steffen with her claims of having had her shoes bear the red sole before Christian’s patten, he is the one that will remain known for branding his product with the envied idea.

Anyone trying to take his red sole will only be seen as a wannabe, an impersonator who wants the success that Christian Louboutin has.

However, I think there is no need for YSL to want to copy the red sole idea, they are already a brand that is established and loved by many.

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Christian Louboutin multi-color gemstone peep-toe sling-backs

Personally, I have never heard of Carmen Steffen shoes until I heard about this controversy, but they are not in a league with Christian Louboutin or YSL who’s shoes can retail for over $1,000, while Carmen’s shoes retail at around the $300.

The entire thing seems very pointless to me, what makes a brand is its uniqueness and style, if all shoes are bearing the red sole and they all have the same style, why have different brands?

A word of advice to YSL, Carmen Steffen and all who are thinking of using the splash of red on the sole of their shoes, keep to your style, your originality and you will be successful, do not go around optioning the ideas of others in your industry it will only diminish your credibility.

Will this ultimately hurt the giant of YSL or Carmen Steffen?

Don’t think so…

It will allow Christian Louboutin to be the true reigning king of the red sole, as well he should be.

**Photo Credits: ChristianLouboutin.com, YvesSaintLaurent.com, RickyRestiano.com, KimKardasian.celebuzz.com, InTheirCloset.com, HBO.com/SexandtheCity**

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Maria Lago is the Owner & President of Three / events & pr, an Event Planning and Public Relations boutique firm based out of Westchester, NY. Maria is the founder of Three Gets Furry, an event dedicated to raise funds and awareness for the SPCA of Westchester. She attended St. John’s University majoring in Communications Arts and minoring in Public Relations. She loves Twitter, and blogging about fashion, events & pr chatter. Follow her @ThreeEventsPR

Little Pink Blog & Little Pink Book PR are federally registered trademarks of Little Pink Book PR, LLC. © 2009-2011 Little Pink Blog & Little Pink Book PR. All Rights Reserved.

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