Archive for September 5th, 2011
Copyright and fashion is a murky area, one tackled by many a great mind with little headway on the issue actually being made. It today transpires that it’s not only a murky area, but also one that can be dangerous for fashion houses to pursue.
Take the case of Louboutin vs Yves Saint Laurent, a case currently before the courts that sees the former accusing the latter of copying its signature red soles.
The outcome? The case may pave the way for every company, from the top end down to the high street retailer, to be able copy the Christian Louboutin red sole with impunity.
A judge declined on Wednesday to grant a preliminary injunction requested by Christian Louboutin against Yves Saint Laurent, which was accused of trademark infringement for shoes that featured red soles similar to those of Louboutin’s. The decision not only cleared the way for Saint Laurent to continue producing its shoes, but also seemed to give coverage to other shoe manufacturers that may want to add a scarlet underpinning to theirs.
Judge Victor Marrero of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that the trademark Louboutin obtained in 2008 for its “lacquered red soles” — on shoes that can sell for more than $1,000 a pair — was “overly broad” and most likely not protectable.
“Because in the fashion industry color serves ornamental and aesthetic functions vital to robust competition,” Judge Marrero ruled, “the court finds that Louboutin is unlikely to be able to prove that its red outsole brand is entitled to trademark protection, even if it has gained enough protection in the market to have secondary meaning.”
The above picture comes from Louboutin’s autumn / fall 2011 ad campaign – you can see more photos from the series by clicking on the picture.
It seems that just about every city in the world now has a fashion week or a fashion festival. Some are hosted primarily to gain the attention of the fashion industry – and we’ll soon witness just how well they do that when the spring 2012 fashion showings kick off in Paris, New York, Milan and London. Others are consumer focussed: it’s their intention to get those of us who frequent each particular city’s shops to spend our money on current season threads. These second tier fashion weeks and festivals have a much harder task at hand: in needing us to spend, they first need to get our attention. Given that they’re often scheduled to conflict with their foreign cousins and that they never book the same calibre of model, that’s no easy task. The forthcoming Melbourne spring fashion week will, for instance, clash with New York.
How then to do they make a blip on our collective radar?
That usually comes down to some form of celebrity endorsement. Effectively a ‘face’ of the fashion week, if your city secures the right face it has the potential to have fashion retailers’ cash registers ringing.
For it’s spring 2011 season it would seem that the Perth Fashion Festival has just the right face: Nicole Trunfio.