Getty Images / Pamela Love
At left, a crystal-topped cuff from Chanel's Fall '12 collection; At right, a cuff from Pamela Love's Fall '12 collection.
In the many cases of fashion look-a-likes that are spotted each year -- from Target's just-like-Proenza-Schouler bags to Ivanka Trump's just-like-Derek-Lam sandals -- it's rare indeed that David actual wins against Goliath. In fact, it's more common that editors and bloggers remark on similarities, because the legal battle any designer faces to challenge another label on similarities of designer is simply too difficult.
This week, we find a very different (and refreshing) example of how one such situation can go: Over the weekend, The Fashion Law posted a story about the strong resemblance between the crystal cuffs seen on Chanel's Fall/Winter 2012 runway in Paris and the cuffs in New York designer Pamela Love's Fall 2011 collection. The story was picked up by other blogs like Fashionista, who in turn reached out to both labels for comment. While Love declined to comment, Chanel made the bold move of announcing that the label would not be producing the crystal cuffs out of "respect", sending Fashionista this statement:
For the A/W 2012 collection, Karl Lagerfeld was inspired by the ‘mineral earth’ theme that explored amethyst, crystal and quartz. The theme was captured by the design of the show which included a runway of white granite sand, by the setting which featured huge crystal and amethyst columns, and by the clothing which was in earthy hues of purple, blue and gray. In keeping with the inspiration, large and colorful crystals also adorned some of the clothing and accessories, including heavy bracelets. It has been brought to our attention that some of the bracelets that appeared in the show may resemble those of another designer. Out of respect for the concerns raised and for the artistic process generally the House has decided not to offer these bracelets for sale as part of the A/W 2012 collection.
It should be noted that Chanel is a brand that is tightly protective of its own designs -- anyone who has ever worked at a major fashion magazine has a healthy fear of using the phrase "Chanel-like" anywhere -- so, in many ways, this statement is very much in keeping with its brand identity. Then again, considering Chanel could easily have plodded ahead with these cuffs with little actual legal ramifications, it's impressive that a brand with that kind of clout would choose to take the high road. Moreover, it should serve as a good example of how easy it is for a brand to do so. Here's hoping this sparks a trend.