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The Yves Saint Laurent litigation – which began when the French house launched a collection of shoes in a range of colours, each with a sole that matched its upper – ended with the assertion that Louboutin could not prevent brands from creating red shoes with red soles, but that no other brand should create a shoe of a contrasting colour with a red sole as that was likely to cause confusion for customers who would assume the shoe was by Louboutin.
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In a case brought by Louboutin in 2013, the Brussels Court of Appeal found that the company has created a distinctive and recognisable marker of its product in the red sole, and Dutch company Van Haren was forced to cease production of its red-soled shoes as a result.
Louboutin has previously spoken about the moment that he invented the red sole – grabbing a nail polish that his assistant was using in order to make a shoe he was working on “pop” – and was happy to reminisce about those early days at the recent Vogue Festival.
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“I remember the first time that I met you,” he told Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman. “It was 1992 and you came into my shop with two girls. You gave me your credit card, and I bent it! It was one of those slidey machines and I watched as it bent.”
Louboutin was born and raised in Paris’s 12th arrondissement. He was the only son of Roger, a cabinet-maker , and Irene, a homemaker, both French, from Brittany. He has three sisters. Louboutin said in a 2012 interview that he was “much darker-skinned than everyone else in his family. You know, I felt I wasn’t French. My family was very French and so I decided they had probably adopted me. But instead of feeling it was terrible and that I was an outsider who had to go and find my real family, I invented my own history, full of characters from Egypt because I was very into the pharaohs.” He incidentally discovered, following a revelation by one of his sisters in 2014 that his biological father was in fact an Egyptian, with whom his mother Irene had been having a secret affair.christian louboutin
Louboutin was expelled from school three times and then decided to run away from home at the age of 12, at which point his mother allowed him to move out to live at a friend’s house. He faced much opposition when he decided to drop out from school. However, he claims that what helped him make up his mind was an interview on TV with Sophia Loren, in which she introduced her sister, saying she had to leave school when she was only 12, but when she turned 50, she got her degree. He later remarked, “Everybody applauded! And I thought, ‘Well, at least if I regret it I’m going to be like the sister of Sophia Loren!'”
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Christian Louboutin’s background – designing shoes for the showgirls of Paris’ famed Folies Bergère – means playfulness and glamour define his collections. As well as the cult appeal of the iconic red soles, opulent embellishments, bold color and daring heel heights have garnered the brand a global following.
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CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN is heading back to court in the hope of protecting his famous red soles once and for all. The designer – who battled Yves Saint Laurent in court in New York over the issue in 2012 and currently holds a valid US trademark as a result – is now taking his concerns to the Court of Justice of the European Union, The Fashion Law reports, in order to ensure that European brands also adhere to the guidelines.
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Ms. Almanzar has made Loubouphilia a hallmark of her image. After receiving her first pair from an admirer in her strip club days, she now makes a point of keeping herself supplied. When she was preparing to perform at MoMA PS1 in New York in August, she brought along a suitcase with several pairs. When she hit No. 1 on the chart last Monday, her label celebrated with a cake shaped like a Louboutin box.
Much of America knows Cardi. Does Mr. Louboutin?
He does, slightly. “She has the hair like that?” he said, waving his hands around chin level. “She’s a rapper? This ‘Yellow’ song?”
A friend had played it for him recently, showing him the lyrics; he has seen the video. “I don’t know much more than that, to be honest,” he said.
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In any case, it would be hard to keep up with every instance of Mr. Louboutin being lyricized. Jennifer Lopez put out a single called “Louboutins” in 2009 (in it, Louboutins are shoes-as-saviors, empowering the singer to walk away from a do-wrong man); and “red bottoms” and Louboutins still turn up frequently in rap, among men and women. A partial bibliography would include Kanye West, Drake, Future, Migos, Soulja Boy, Rae Sremmurd, Ty Dolla Sign, Iggy Azalea and the complete works of Rick Ross.
Mr. Louboutin said he neither dreamed nor intended to court fame. “My job is creating beautiful shoes,” he said. “The rest has became what it became.”
That put him in a speculative mood. Movies and musicals are what first set him dreaming about a life beyond his own, and film, television, theater and art still influence his work. His new collection, on view at his showroom next door, had been divided into film vignettes, from 18th-century Marie Antoinette to futuristic Tokyo.
If Cardi B is only the latest musical diva to thrill to his designs, “in a way, it comes back to some of my origins,” he said, harking back to his early days at the Folies Bergère, where he worked as an intern. “The first shoes I ever designed were for showgirls, people on stage. Showgirls have a kind of attitude — they’re driving forces.”
Would he meet Cardi if she came to town?
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“Why not?” he said, though he admitted that while he listens to many types of music — Prince, classical, Latin music, the Colombian singer and songwriter Maluma — he is “not a big rap person.”