seeing red

I’m fascinated by the current court battle known to fashion insiders simply as, “Christian Louboutin vs Yves Saint Laurent.” Want to know what they’re dickering over?  A color.

It seems that the folks at Louboutin—known for their distinctive, expensive, red-soled shoes—are hopping mad that YSL started churning out pairs with scarlet undersides as well. Hoping to trademark the look, they took the matter to court last year, where it was ultimately decided that you couldn’t trademark a color on a shoe. (Think about the ramifications… what would happen to red-rubber rain boots?)

So back to the lawyers they went and the now the world anxiously awaits a decision from the Second Circuit.

Here’s where it gets dicey: UPS managed to trademark the color brown. Which means, unless I’m completely mistaken, that Hershey’s could be accused of copyright infringement. (Thank God for white chocolate.)

Tiffany trademarked robin’s egg-blue packaging…though not the color itself.

After all, who would you sue? The bird?

Your instinct might be to say, Who cares about red-soled shoes? Apparently, lots of people.  According to a report in London, sales of tester-pots of bright-red paint have surged by 40 percent this year, as scores of women have been turning their soles crimson in homespun fashion. I’m not kidding you.

Meanwhile, an ingenious little girl from Ireland—16-year-old Tara Haughton—saw an opportunity to capitalize on the craze and launched a website called, selling “designer-sole makeover kits.” Want to know what that means? Red shoe stickers (about $7 a pair) that you peel for your heels. (To be fair, she sells 23 different colors…including robin’s-egg blue. I’m not sure Tiffany knows.)

I’d laugh, but it’s just too brilliant for words.

1 Comment
  • Hi Hillary,
    I just seen your article , it is great and many thanks for the mention and the link to my website.

    I will be launching some more very interesting designs and colour for the fall season, and there are three new products on the way..

    Many thanks again

    July 25, 2012 at 11:30 pm