The famed crimson sole of a Louboutin has become a marketing staple that associates the brand with exquisite taste. Louboutin’s iconic sole came about when he was seeking to add more glam to his Warhol inspired style—nail polish was the first finish to give his sole the spark it needed. But his signature bottom wasn’t the first to symbolize high society and wealth. High stepping soles date back to the Rococo period of the 18th century, known for indulgence and whimsy. Louboutin is actually predated by the extravagant Louis XIV, who donned the crimson sole so much, Rigaud’s 1701 portrait of the king includes them. In 2012, competitor Yves Saint Laurent took advantage of that antique inspiration and made an all red shoe (sole included), resulting in a controversial lawsuit. The final verdict read that Christian Louboutin’s trademark is not the red sole, but the contrast between the bold bottom and the color of the upper. Thus any designer can use a red sole provided it does not infringe on Louboutin’s trademark contrast, hence the proliferation of “copies.”
Louboutin pump available at Hirshleifers, Americana Manhasset, (516) 627-3566.