French designer Christian Louboutin — he in the christian louboutin Melbourne — is likely to appeal a recent New York City Court decision that enables rival company Yves Saint Laurent to continue its 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 situation 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 as it is engaging, flirtatious, memorable as well as 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 understanding of why it remains such an attractive color for shoe designers — and why they are likely to battle in the courtroom over its use.
In Western societies, red long served as a symbol of ferocity and power, worn by soldiers, monarchs, the papacy along with other important figures. The Ancient Greeks and Romans carried red flags in battles, so when late since the 1800s soldiers wore red inside the field so as to intimidate their enemies. In her 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 that has remained well-liked by executives and politicians: Consider the Wall Street execs in the ’80s making use 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 solely those with power and status can afford to utilize them. (The Chinese stated that red dye was made of dragon’s blood — imbuing the colour with rare magic.) Many European societies imposed sumptuary laws, which dictated what certain social classes could wear, and red was often restricted to princes or nobility. (Among the people’s demands throughout the Peasants’ Revolt in Germany during the 16th century was the legal right to wear red, and, of course, french Revolutionaries adopted colour as being a symbol of rebellion.)
A particular mark of class distinction was the red-heeled shoe, which aristos began sporting inside the 1600s. Charles II of England wore them; a 1675 portrait of him implies that his louboutin australia had not just red heels but red soles too. But it was Louis XIV of France who made them the “it” item among Europe’s monarchs. Red heels were essential for the Sun King that he passed an edict proclaiming that only individuals the nobility by birth could wear them. Based on Philip Mansel’s Dressed to Rule, the painted heels indicated that nobles did not dirty their shoes. But they also indicated that their wearers were “always ready to crush the enemies from the state at their feet.”
French Revolution banished the “Louis heel,” although other European nobility continued wearing them, for example the English. But red shoes would resurface again — in culture plus in fashion. Hans Christian Andersen used the red shoe as being a symbol of wealth and vanity in his morality fairytale The Red Shoes. Clearly, he shared the French Revolutionaries’ distrust of red footwear. Fashion illustrations from the 1920s and ’30s, however, depict rouge heels not as symbols of class oppression and power, but of fun and coquetry. A drawing from a 1920 catalog on the Fashion Institute of Technology’s archives in The Big Apple shows a slim, elegant woman in the 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 — experienced a shocking-pink heel.
The 1939 version from the Wizard of Oz swapped Dorothy’s silver shoes in the book for ruby slippers, which in fact had red soles. Dorothy’s slippers not merely conveyed magic and whimsy, in addition they gave her confidence and said something concerning the transformative power of fashion — or of your particular accessory or garment.
More recently, red soles have brought glamour and s-ex appeal to the shoe. Valentino Garavani, the perennially tanned and fabulous Italian couturier, has intermittently produced red-heeled chr1stin since 1969 to complement his famous elegant red gowns. (The colour he uses, an orangey rouge, is normally called “Valentino red.”) In the 1970s, Yves Saint Laurent — known for his gender-bending, se-xy fashions that empowered women — established the monochrome shoe, that is entirely one color — from the leather upper to the inside on the heel and also the sole. YSL produced purple, blue and, yes, red monochrome shoes throughout the ’70s and ’80s. Another famed shoemaker, Charles Jourdan — under whom Louboutin apprenticed inside the ’80s — also painted the soles of his louboutin shoes Melbourne.
Today, a flash of your red sole not simply screams “Louboutin” — in addition, it reveals something concerning the wearer. She 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), and also s-exy and perhaps even naughty. Within its profile of your shoe designer, the New Yorker called the red soles “a marketing gimmick that renders an otherwise indistinguishable product instantly recognizable.” Yet for a lot of designers and consumers — and in many cases, more than likely, for Louboutin — the red sole is far more than that.