Traditionally, the beigey shade similar to white skin is referred to as “nude.” Praised for its flattering qualities and leg-lengthening powers, nude means it blends into the color of the flesh, appearing as if garment is not there or the wearer is nude. Thus nude becomes synonymous with white skin.
For an example, just look at all these celebrities in their nude shoes, courtesy of MbellishedLife.com:
Wow. Those nude shoes really match Beyonce’s skin tone.
See the problem?
Apparently, so did Christian Louboutin, and he is launching a line of of famously red-soled shoes in multiple skin tones. The Louboutin Nudes collection is designed to match a range of skin tones – from the familiar traditional “nude” to a rich dark brown, with five different styles available. There’s even an app even matches the shade of your own skin to the shoes for you.
Overlooking the misogyny in the above advertisement, Louboutin’s imagery is definitely more racially inclusive than other fashion campaigns — high end or otherwise.
With prices starting in the hundreds of dollars, very few people can actually afford Louboutin’s footwear. And the seeming target demographic for this product, people of color, are significantly more likely to live in poverty. But trends started by luxury good outfitters and couture brands often trickle down to much more affordable ready-to-wear brands. And if the market is saturated with flesh-tone pumps in every shade, the racist notion of nude = white may soon go out of style.
In other racist fashion news, Louboutin won a legal battle Oct. 14 to stop the Belgian far-right group “Women against Islamisation” from using his shoes in an ad campaign. Louboutin had complained the advertisement tarnished his image.
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