Following his semi victory in his epic trademark battle with Yves Saint Laurent last September (he lost the battle but won the war), things have been quiet with Christian Louboutin and his lawyer Harley Lewin on the fashion law front. (In case you need a refresh, the court ruled that Louboutin has the right to trademark protection over his red soles but that other companies–YSL included–may continue to sell shoes with a red sole, so long as the entire shoe is red.) However, reports suggest our favourite footwear brand has swung back into action, filing suit against the Belgian far right group ”Women against Islamisation” over an advertisement poster.
The poster in question, entitled ‘Liberty or Islam?’ features the legs of senator, former Miss Belgium, and anti-immigrant campaigner Anke Van Dermeersch wearing a pair of Louboutin shoes with the famous red soles. The offensive poster also features the words ‘matronly’, ‘prudish’, ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ in reference to various skirt lengths. The words ‘Sharia compliant’ appear at floor length. The poster appears to have been inspired by a photograph by Canadian feminist Rosea Lake called ‘Judgements’, depicting various skirt lengths ranging from ‘matronly’ to ‘whore’.
Christian Louboutin is arguing that the poster damages the brand’s image and should be enjoined. The company has requested an emergency ruling and a permanent injunction from Antwerp’s trade court. Louboutin’s request may well clash with Van Dermeersch’s right to freedom of speech. Can the designer dictate who can and can’t wear his footwear? While we don’t agree with the politics of Ms Van Dermeersch or “Women against Islamisation”, the granting of an injunction is not something we feel entirely comfortable with. Will designers be able to ban celebrities that they don’t like from wearing their clothes? Body shapes that they don’t like? We won’t have to wait long to find out – a decision is expected this Friday. Stay tuned to Wigsandgowns for updates!