Christian Louboutin, shoe designer for the eponymous French brand, is suing a Belgian politician for sporting his shoes in a campaign poster, decrying the implicit association with her party's far-right, anti-Muslim agenda. He is asking the court for a cease and desist order that would bar the publication of party materials showing the shoes.
The posters and fliers, entitled "Women against Islamisation" show a woman (Anke Van Dermeersch) wearing Louboutin's signature red-soled heels and a short black dress. Along the exposed legs are markings ranging from "sharia compatible" near the ankle to "rape" in the upper thigh. Other options are "moderate Islam," "provocative," "slut," and "whore."
The poster reads "Liberty or Islam."
The poster is believed to be inspired by the photograph "Judgements" published on Tubmlr in January 2013 by Canadian feminist Rosea Lake, which showed the judgements made about women based on skirt lengths. The terms included "matronly," "proper," "asking for it," and "whore."
Van Dermeersch, the former Miss Belgium (1991) behinds the ads, apparently does not take Christopher Louboutin's objections seriously. She arrived at the trade court in Antwerp, Belgium wearing the controversial shoes.
Van Dermeersch is a senator for Vlaams Belang, a far-right and vehemently anti-immigrant party in Belgium. The party's name means Flemish Interest. It regularly campaigns against the so-called "Islamisation of Belgium."
The case is likely to come down to whether a designer can control how iys products are used after they are legally purchased and whether a politician can wear whatever she likes while exercising legally free speech.
A decision in the case is expected Friday.