'Our shoes are iconic': Louboutin hits back after losing case to stop high street store Zara selling red-soled shoes
Designer was forced to pay compensation after suing chain for 'copying' his heels
21:28 GMT, 15 June 2012
Designer in difficulty: Christian Louboutin is frustrated at the result of the case
Christian Louboutin has hit back at Zara after a French judge ruled that the high street store could continue selling red-soled shoes.
The designer said the distinctive sole had been the label's 'iconic signature for the past 20 years'.
Scarlet soles have become an instantly recognisable marker of the label, but could now face serious competition from imitations after a court
ruled on Monday that Zara could sell lookalike heels.
Today Louboutin responded to the case with an official statement.
of the discussion either implies or states that through this ruling we
have lost our rights to our world famous Red Sole Trademark,' it said, according to Grazia magazine.
would like to clarify that what has been disputed and cancelled is only
one French registration of said Red Sole Trademark. Christian Louboutin
continues to own valid and enforceable trademark rights in its Red Sole
Trademark, including in France itself as well as throughout the world.
number of court decisions have recognised the strong association
between Christian Louboutin and the Red Sole Trademark, including in
'Christian Louboutin will continue to protect and enforce its
rights to its Red Sole Trademark which has been its iconic signature for
the past 20 years.
'We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who continually show support to our brand.'
Frsutrating: Zara won the right to sell their red-soled heels, left, which Louboutin said copied their Yo Yo slingbacks, right
Flash of red: Victoria Beckham in a pair of red-soled Louboutins in Hong Kong
Louboutin initially sued the Spanish
brand in 2008, claiming that an open-toed red-soled shoe it was selling
for 40 was similar to its Yo Yo style.
But a French court ruled that Zara’s cut-price shoe could not be confused with that made by the high-end designer and the Cour de Cassation – the final court of appeal – upheld the decision.
It also ruled that Louboutin, whose
shoes are favoured by celebrities including Victoria Beckham and Sarah
Jessica Parker and cost hundreds of pounds a pair, must pay the chain
2,000 in compensation.
Alexis Mourot, group chief operating
officer and general manager of Christian Louboutin, said the company
would continue defending its soles.
In 2008, Louboutin registered a
trademark, claiming the exclusive right to make shoes with red soles for
‘women’s high fashion designer footwear’.
And last year the shoemaker accused
designer Yves Saint Laurent of copying his celebrated red-soled
footwear, when he used a similar theme in his 2011 resort collection.
That lawsuit resulted in a high-court appeal case in the US, the verdict of which is yet to be decided.
Earlier this year, Louboutin told
French newspaper Libration why the cause is important to him and his
brand identity and that he is aware he cannot 'monopolise' a colour.
He said: 'I understand that, but it is a red in
a specific context, there is Ferrari red [and] Herms
'Even in the food
industry, Cadbury recently won a lawsuit against Nestl for using purple
'All this proves that the colours play a part in a brand's
identity. I'm not saying that red usually belongs to me – I repeat that
this is about a precise red, used in a precise location.'
The expensive look: Amanda Holden, left, in Louboutin slingbacks and actress Hayden Panettiere, right, flashing the famous red sole
Louboutin said that he came up with the idea for his red sole heels, which are favoured by celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker and Victoria Beckham, nearly 20 years ago, when he
painted red nail polish on the black soles of a pair of women's shoes.
His lawsuit against YSL reads: 'Mr Louboutin is the first designer to
develop the idea of having red soles on women's shoes.
'The location of
the bright colour on the outsole of a woman’s pump is said to provide an
alluring 'flash of red' when a woman walks down the street, or on the
red carpet of a special event.'
Zara has not yet responded to requests for comment.