are great, right? They lengthen the legs, match all kinds of colors and patterns, and can be daytime casual or black-tie jazzy. The only problem is making sure that you yourself are the “correct” shade of nude. For years, a debate has raged between design houses and their consumers: What is a “nude” shoe? In a move that’s both socially conscious — directly addressing the elephant in the room that others are ignoring — and business savvy, Nude heelsChristian Louboutin recently launched a first-of-its-kind capsule collection of five classic Louboutin styles in five brand-new shades, specifically meant to complement skin tones of all ethnicities. They range from pale pink-ivory to deep chestnut, with the goal that one of them will “closely match the color of a customer's skin tone.” Louboutin's red-soled, perfectly curved creations are designed to “disappear like magic and become a fluid extension of her legs, as in a sketch, elongating the silhouette,” according to the designer's press release.
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The topic of “nude” colors in fashion is a sensitive subject — for years, magazines have received reader backlash for featuring “nude,” a.k.a. beige, a.k.a. Caucasian, shoes without offering options for those with other skin tones. “It’s always been vaguely insulting,” Tia Williams, the writer who runs Shakeyourbeauty.com, a popular beauty and style blog for women of color, tells Yahoo Shine. “With the endless variety of skin colors, why is beige considered the standard nude tone?” (Indeed, color authority Pantone’s Nude is a pale peachy-pink.) “As a fashion girl with brown skin, it’s been frustrating. These Louboutins are finally changing the conversation to address this.”
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That it’s the fabled Louboutin, whose designs have long been hailed as an industry gold standard, leading the way is a positive sign of things to come. The companylaunched a free app for women to upload photos of their feet and get the proper skin-matching shoe recommendation in a move that both ensures that the customer gets the most flattering option and tacitly acknowledges that the concept of “nude” shoes is highly individual, and every woman is unique.
Considering that in 2012 Americans spent an astonishing $48 billion on footwear, and that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly half of the country's population is made up of people of color, it seems a long-overdue, but still a positive (and very chic) move.
Be warned: The starting price for these heels is a cool $700.
Just because they’re for everyone doesn’t mean they’re for everyone.