The Scarlet Leather

Parisian cobbler Christian Louboutin lost his legal fight in a New York federal court Wednesday against YSL to be the exclusive Scarlet Leather, that is, the only pricey purveyor of red-soled shoes.

Luxury goods continue to sell, according to the New York Times, even in these queasy times.  The day the article ran celebrating the strong sales in German cars, Tiffany jewelry and high-priced footwear, the stock market slumped 512 points. (The story also resulted in one of my favorite recent corrections, where a photo caption misidentified the designer of a $1,495 pair of peek-toe pumps.)

My column Wednesday questioned whether it was wise for women to spend so much of their income on high heels that, literally, get them absolutely nowhere. I'm not immune to the charms

"Women have made great strides, through education, career advancement and, as Suze Orman says, taking control of our finances. But it's troubling that, as we still struggle for job parity and pay, increased representation in most professions, and greater access to power, women have never been more loony for overpriced stilettos that hobble us financially and physically. In five-inch heels, you can't run for anything, a bus or higher office.

"Do people take seriously women who have blown a fortune on crippling, transient vanity? Those $1,500 shoes - many people can identify the price and provenance the way others can cite salary caps and player contracts - aren't art, no matter how much their owners rhapsodize. They won't increase in value or create a legacy. They're worth less the moment Louboutin creates a newer, costlier pair."

--Karen Heller

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