French designer Christian Louboutin — he from the christian louboutin australia — is about to appeal a newly released The Big Apple Court decision that allows rival company Yves Saint Laurent to carry on its very own scarlet-soled pumps. Louboutin had his signature trademarked in 2006, however the decision could ultimately change that, permitting legions of copycats to exploit the red sole’s se-xy appeal.
The case has caused a bit of confusion in the fashion community. (Can’t YSL find another color — say, yellow — without taking Louboutin’s signature?, they ask.) For Louboutin, having painted the soles of his shoes red since 1992, red implies sensuality — and functions as a crafty, subtle branding tool. “I selected colour because it is engaging, flirtatious, memorable and the hue of passion,” he told The Brand New Yorker in March. But red also carries connotations of wealth and power, particularly in the reputation of fashion and footwear. Its potent symbolism and strange history give some insight into why it remains this sort of attractive color for shoe designers — and why they are prepared to battle in the courtroom over its use.
In Western societies, red long served as being a symbol of ferocity and power, worn by soldiers, monarchs, the papacy as well as other important figures. The Ancient Greeks and Romans carried red flags in battles, so when late because the 1800s soldiers wore red in the field in an effort to intimidate their enemies. In her own book The Red Dress, fashion historian Valerie Steele describes how Duke John the Fearless of Burgundy arrived in Paris in 1406, victorious and wearing “a red velvet suit lined with grey fur and worked over with gold foliage” — a sign of his power. It’s a tactic containing remained preferred among executives and politicians: Think about the Wall Street execs through the ’80s because of their red suspenders or ties, or Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi with their red “power suits” today.
Red also signified privilege: Red dyes were costly to produce, so only those with power and status can afford to use them. (Chinese People mentioned that red dye was created of dragon’s blood — imbuing colour with rare magic.) Many European societies imposed sumptuary laws, which dictated what certain social classes could wear, and red was often reserved for princes or nobility. (One of many people’s demands throughout the Peasants’ Revolt in Germany throughout the 16th century was the legal right to wear red, and, naturally, french Revolutionaries adopted the colour as a symbol of rebellion.)
A single mark of class distinction was the red-heeled shoe, which aristos began sporting from the 1600s. Charles II of England wore them; a 1675 portrait of him demonstrates that his louboutin Sydeny had not just red heels but red soles as well. But it was Louis XIV of France who made them the “it” item among Europe’s monarchs. Red heels were very important towards the Sun King that he or she passed an edict stating that only individuals the nobility by birth could use them. Based on Philip Mansel’s Dressed to Rule, the painted heels revealed that nobles did not dirty their shoes. In addition they revealed that their wearers were “always willing to crush the enemies of your state at their feet.”
French Revolution banished the “Louis heel,” although other European nobility continued using them, such as the English. But red shoes would resurface again — in culture also in fashion. Hans Christian Andersen used the red shoe as a symbol of wealth and vanity in their morality fairytale The Red Shoes. Clearly, he shared the French Revolutionaries’ distrust of red footwear. Fashion illustrations in the 1920s and ’30s, however, depict rouge heels much less symbols of class oppression and power, but of fun and coquetry. A drawing from the 1920 catalog at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s archives in The Big Apple shows a slim, elegant woman in a fur-trimmed coat and cloche hat wearing adorable black shoes with red heels. The surrealist designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s famous “shoe” hat — an upside-down shoe worn on one’s head — had a shocking-pink heel.
The 1939 version in the Wizard of Oz swapped Dorothy’s silver shoes within the book for ruby slippers, which had red soles. Dorothy’s slippers not merely conveyed magic and whimsy, they also gave her confidence and said something concerning the transformative power of fashion — or of any particular accessory or garment.
More recently, red soles have brought glamour and s-ex attract the shoe. Valentino Garavani, the perennially tanned and fabulous Italian couturier, has intermittently produced red-heeled chr1stin since 1969 to go with his famous elegant red gowns. (Colour he uses, an orangey rouge, is often called “Valentino red.”) Within the 1970s, Yves Saint Laurent — known for his gender-bending, se-xy fashions that empowered women — established the monochrome shoe, which happens to be entirely one color — through the leather upper to the inside on the heel and the sole. YSL produced purple, blue and, yes, red monochrome shoes through the ’70s and ’80s. Another famed shoemaker, Charles Jourdan — under whom Louboutin apprenticed within the ’80s — also painted the soles of his louboutin shoes Sydeny.
Today, a flash of a red sole not simply screams “Louboutin” — it also reveals something regarding the wearer. She actually is, like her Medieval and Renaissance precursors, well-off or upwardly mobile. (Louboutin’s shoes cost between $400 and $6,000.) The red makes her feel powerful (like John the Fearless or YSL’s women), along with s-exy and possibly even naughty. Within its profile in the shoe designer, the New Yorker referred to as the red soles “a marketing gimmick that renders an otherwise indistinguishable product instantly recognizable.” Yet for a lot of designers and consumers — and even, almost certainly, for Louboutin — the red sole is more than that.