Prices, lawsuits: facts about the 'red bottoms' required for Somhale's white wedding

French designer Christian Louboutin's shoe are instantly recognisable thanks to their distinctive red lacquered soles.
French designer Christian Louboutin's shoe are instantly recognisable thanks to their distinctive red lacquered soles.
Image: Cole Wilson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SA's a country with casual vibes, so it's not unheard of to see grooms wearing sneakers or even flip flops on their Big Day. But for their white wedding, Somizi Mhlongo and his husband, Mohale Motaung, had something more upmarket in mind: they'll apparently be wearing shoes by French fashion designer Christian Louboutin, and have kindly requested that their guests do too.  

Louboutins are instantly recognisable thanks to their signature scarlet lacquered soles — which appear on everything from the brand's stilettos to their sneakers — and have earned them the nickname “red bottoms”.

Somizi shared what appears to be a snap of his wedding invite on Twitter; it explains that the couple would like everyone to wear “red bottoms” so that they can get a “stunning” group photo.

As Louboutins have become as synonymous with A-list events as a red carpet, it's likely that about of their celeb guests may already own a pair or two of these swoon-worthy shoes.

Here are about facts you might not know about them:

RED BOTTOMS WERE INSPIRED BY NAIL POLISH

Louboutin hit on the idea to give his shoes colourful soles in 1993 when he saw one of his employees painting her nails a vivid shade of red. Rumour has it, he used that very same bottle of nail polish to create the first prototype of his now iconic red bottoms.

THEY'VE BEEN THE SUBJECT OF SEVERAL LAW SUITS

As their red soles are a big part of what makes Louboutins so covetable, it's no surprise that other brands have tried to cash on it by bringing out copycat shoes.

According to AFP, the subject has been the basis of several legal battles between Louboutin and rival fashion brands over the years. This includes Yves Saint Laurent, Zara, Kesslord and Van Haren.

Louboutin has earned the right to trademark this design detail in several countries.

THEY'RE PRICEY

As Cardi B raps in Bodak Yellow, “These expensive, these is red bottoms / These is bloody shoes”.

Just how expensive? Somzi posted a snap of the three pairs of Louboutins he'll be wearing on his Big Day: striking black-and-white stripped ankle boots, shiny black Oxfords, and burgundy velvet loafers embellished with a regal-looking crest.

View this post on Instagram

3 changes tomorrow #somhalewhitewedding

A post shared by Somizi (@somizi) on

A quick search on the Christian Louboutin Europe Online Boutique reveals that prices for similar-looking red bottoms range from €650 (R10,521) for the plainest pair, the lace-ups, to €1,095 (R17,727) for the patterned boots.


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