You hear the click-clack sound of a woman walking into a meeting. She sits down and crosses her legs just enough to the right for you to catch a glimpse of her red-lacquered soles. You give an almost instinctual once-over, looking closer at her dress, her posture, lipstick– who is this woman? The unmistakable mark of the red-soled Louboutins ups her intrigue.
Louboutin secured the rights to the red-lacquer sole in 2008 and took YSL to court over the latter’s introduction of an all red shoe (including the sole) to their collection. The verdict? Louboutin can exclusively use red soles except for instances when the whole shoe is red.
This win for Louboutin made it official– the red sole is theirs. “Generally speaking, colors don’t function as trademarks,” adds New York Law School professor Dan Hunter. “But they can with enough use, enough marketing, and enough consumer recognition. Which is what happened with red-soled Louboutin shoes.” Another example of a rare trademarked color is the Tiffany blue.
Check out J Lo’s ode to the brand below:
Consumers see brands as part of themselves, and the red soles are an inexplicable part of the Louboutin brand story. Ultimately, the red-soles are then a part of the consumer’s identity, at once embodying sexy and fierce.
As stated by Adweek, “Women don’t drop $1,000 on a pair of CLs because they happen to like red under their feet; they do it because they like what that red represents. ‘I talked to a very successful businesswoman about this the other day,’ relates Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. ‘And she said, ‘Of course that red sole matters. It signals to the world that I wear Louboutins—a top-of-the-line shoe. It [says] I’m a successful woman, and I bought these myself, that I’m powerful—and still feminine.’”
The Christian Louboutin brand equity is high, and I mean really high. Walking on red is about power and personal integrity, and for many women that’s $995 well spent.
What do you think about the message embedded in the red-soled Louboutins? Let me know below!