Christian Louboutin

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Christian Louboutin : biography

7 January 1963 –

To celebrate his twentieth anniversary, Louboutin celebrated the occasion by hosting several special events across the globe.

In 2011, Louboutin celebrated his 20th anniversary with a new self-titled book, published by Rizzoli. Bound in pink faux leather with gilded pages and a five-piece fold-out cover, the book covers the designer’s most iconic styles as well as an insight into his influences and photos from his personal archives. American actor John Malkovich, who is a close friend of Louboutin’s, provides the book’s foreword, while some of the photography is courtesy of David Lynch. The book is divided into six chapters: the first documents Louboutin’s biography, noting his early work for Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent; the second looks at the various interiors of the label’s international stores; the third charts 20 years of Louboutin design, the fourth features intimate photographs of the designer’s Paris and Egypt homes, while the fifth and sixth explore his collaborations. The retail price of the book on launch was US $150.

Louboutin, in conjunction with Bergdorf Goodman, held a competition for design students at the Parsons New School for Design who graduated in 2010 and 2011, encouraging them to create apparel inspired by Louboutin’s silhouettes of the past two decades, as well as the brand’s new capsule collection.

In 2012, he was commissioned by Disney to create a modern-day Cinderella-inspired pair of slippers limited to just 20 pieces, to complement release of the Cinderella: Diamond Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack in the fall. Louboutin also makes his acting debut in a Disney-produced 10-minute short called The Magic of the Glass Slipper: A Cinderella Story and will appear as a bonus feature on the Cinderella Blu-ray DVD. He also partnered with Mattel that same year to create a limited edition "Louboutin Barbie". The first in the series was a cat burglar themed Barbie, which retailed for $150 and sold out the first day.

An iPhone app was launched in 2012, allowing users to: view seasonal collections, watch brand videos, make a brand wish list, find a store, and a feature called ’20 Ans’ (’20 years’), which shows the hand drawn designs of the Louboutin shoes and the finished product.

Louboutin was also one of the judges at the Martini Royale Casting Party to find the new face of the drinks brand.

Christian Louboutin vs. Yves Saint Laurent

In 2011, Christian Louboutin company filed a trademark infringement claim of its red-soled shoes against designer Yves Saint Laurent. The firm is expecting that the YSL shoe design will be revoked and is seeking US $1 million in damages. However, in August 2011, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero denied the firm’s request to stop the sale of women’s shoes with red soles by Yves Saint Laurent. The judge questioned the validity of the trademark, writing, "Louboutin’s claim would cast a red cloud over the whole industry, cramping what other designers do, while allowing Louboutin to paint with a full palette." Judge Marrero also wrote, "Louboutin is unlikely to be able to prove its red outsole brand is entitled to trademark protection, even if it has gained enough public recognition in the market to have acquired secondary meaning." In his thirty-two page decision, Judge Marrero compared fashion designers to painters and noted how creativity for both is dependent upon using color as "an indispensable medium" that "plays a unique role." The Court observed that: "The law should not countenance restraints that would interfere with creativity and stifle competition by one designer, while granting another a monopoly invested with the right to exclude use of an ornamental or functional medium necessary for freest and most productive artistic expression by all engaged in the same enterprise." Jewelry company Tiffany & Co., which has its blue box trademarked, filed an amicus curiae brief focusing on trademarking a color. Fashion periodical WWD reported that Tiffany’s brief supports Louboutin’s appeal to reverse the decision made by Judge Marrero. In September 2012, the court finally ruled that Louboutin retains the exclusive right to use the color red on the bottom of its shoes whenever the outer portion of the shoe is any color besides red, while Yves Saint Laurent can continue to sell its shoes with red soles as long as the whole shoe is red. The YSL monochromatic shoe – red upper, red outsole – over which the lawsuit originally had been brought and against which Louboutin had tried and failed to get a preliminary injunction, therefore won’t infringe the trimmed-down trademark.

Fighting Fraud Online

Branded genuine Louboutin shoes are sold in-store and online through various luxury goods retailers such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Joseph, Browns, Matches, Cricket and Cruise and online through Net-a-Porter and The Outnet in the UK. Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Nordstrom sell genuine Louboutin in the US. In Canada, Christian Louboutin shoes are available from Holt Renfrew and Davids.

Online, the Louboutin brand is under constant attack from sellers of fakes and knock-offs. Louboutin’s own website now sells some of their products online but this is the only legitimate domain with the word Louboutin in it to do so. Louboutin’s main website contains a prominent note stating that any other domain name containing the word "Louboutin" is very likely to be selling counterfeit goods.

In the last few years, the company has served hundreds of DMCA notices on Google to remove many sites selling fake goods from their search results.http://www.google.com/search?num=10&q=louboutin Even after this action, thousands of sites remain online.

The company has recently set up a separate website focused on protecting their brand, and detailing more than 3,000 websites that sell fake goods, many of which have been closed down. The site also contains summaries of legal actions taken, including raids on factories with photographs and videos of the mass destruction of counterfeit goods.