Designer Gaff. Ghesquiere Suspected of Copying Piece for Balenciaga Cruise

June 22, 2009 • Fashion


In yet another breaking story of what is rapidly becoming a trend now between high end designers and smaller, lesser-known labels, Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquiere is being suspected of copycatting. Ghesquiere's inquiry comes fresh on the heels of a recent controversy between the wrap-dress creator Diane Von Furstenberg and the Montreal-based label Mercury. The disputed item was a jacket that the Canadian designers claimed had "extreme similarities" between the DVF design and their own. Von Furtsenberg settled out of court and admitted to her label's error, emerging relatively unscathed.

In this most recent bout of designer deathmatch, Ghesquiere is raising eyebrows due to the stylistic elements of a jacket featured in Balenciaga's 2009 resort collection. The  unique leather jacket has been hailed as a standout piece in the collection, but has also had critics noting Ghesquiere may have been "taking inspiration" from a retired label of the past. The retro label, called East West Musical Instruments, was a small fashion house in San Francisco run by hippies who were known for their embellished, whimsical designs. The house enjoyed notoriety for their signature crop of jackets until they were forced to close in the seventies when cheaper manufacturing started abroad. Even today, East West designs are lauded for their luxurious fabrics and impeccable tailoring and can be found for a surmountable sum on Ebay and in high end consignment shops.

the East West lookalike sold at Urban Outfitters

The jacket design in question for Ghesquiere's case is what was known as the "Parrot" due to the parrot heads that formed the collar on the original. Critics have already noticed the Balenciaga jacket is almost identical in certain areas to the East West design, particularly the ends of the sleeves and across the chest. Its also been noted that a similar design was mass manufactured by retailer Urban Outfitters several months ago, and which sold out almost immediately. But in the luxury world, a designer's style is his calling card and if he begins borrowing the innovations of the past will he maintain the same level of clout? Then again, someone shouldn't be blamed for where they find their muse. In a time where reconstructed vintage is becoming more common practice for high end labels, should Ghesquiere be vilified for providing a more modern version of an classic, albeit arguably outdated piece?

Article and Photo Source:

-Alia Rajput

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