Christian Louboutin launched another court case centered around its red soles–but this time, there’s a political message attached.
The company won an injunction against an anti-Islam women’s group in Belgium that used his famous heels in a campaign, according to the Telegraph. The flyer in question features former Miss Belgium Anke Vandermeersch, who is now a senator for the far-right Vlaams Belang party (the Flemish Interest party, which wants to split from Belgium). Its anti-Islam message marks Islam’s supposed view of women–from “sharia conform” at floor-level to “stoning” at the top of the thigh.
Louboutin alleges that it did not grant permission for its shoes to be used in the ad, and that the ad is damaging in nature. The courts agreed: Vlaams Belang was ordered to remove all the offending posters in 24 hours. The latest image from the group has the soles of the shoes Photoshopped yellow, the color of Dutch-speaking Flanders whom the Flemish Interest party purports to represent.
Vandermeersch was not pleased with Louboutin; when the company first threatened legal action, she asked wryly, “Are politicians still allowed to dress the way they want?”
“It seems that not only Islam is intolerant,” Vogue UK quotes her as saying. “A legal judgment on a dress code for politicians would be a surreal precedent. Apart from the absurd argument concerning reputational damage, there is no legal basis for such a dress code.”
Of course, Louboutin isn’t trying to stop Vandermeersch herself from wearing Louboutins (though, we assume after this, she likely won’t); rather, the company is protecting the use of its red soles in imagery, as it’s been known to do. It’s also undoubtedly a move to protect business in the Middle East–with luxury sales in the region projected at $7.69 billion, it’s the 10th biggest luxury market in the world and growing, according to Arabian Business.