Is Max Mara Ripping Off Oscar de la Renta’s Designs?

June 1, 2010 • Fashion

A look from Oscar de la Renta

So it seems even the luxury sector has to deal with the occasional copycat these days. Oscar de la Renta was recently informed by a staff member who happened to pass by a Lord & Taylor window that the spring collection by Max Mara Studio, Max Mara's diffusion line, looked uncannily similar to de la Renta's Spring 08 collection. “The prints and these styles are my clothes from two seasons ago,” de la Renta told WWD.

What further dismayed the designer is that the Italian label seemed to be "borrowing" not only his prints, but the cut and silhouette of the pieces as well. De la Renta did admit that oftentimes fabric mills would recirculate a print after one label used it exclusively for a year, but there was at least one tribal pattern for which that was not the case. This particular print is not a print that I bought,” he said. “I gave
the Italian house the artwork….This is horrible because Max Mara, you
know, they should be more responsible.

Looks by Max Mara

In their defense, a Max Mara Fashion Group spokesman said, "The designers of the Max Mara Studio line chose the printed fabrics in
total good faith
. [In the Max Mara Studio collection] the prints are
applied on different materials and fashioned in styles that are very
different from the models designed by Oscar de la Renta. We will,
however, speak to the mill that supplied the fabric, because we’re very
sorry for what happened," adding that Max Mara asks its mills
for a one-year exclusive on the prints it selects. So was the pattern pinching actually fair play? Maybe so. Even the mill that the print in question came from, Como-based Gentili Mosconi, claims that the de la Renta label knows full well that they are only entitled to a one year exclusivity per their contract. Owner and chairman of the mill, Francesco Gentili, explained, “We have a
commercial agreement with Oscar de la Renta for which he has the
worldwide exclusive on our fabrics, whether designed by us or by him,
for one year after which the designs are the property of Gentili

While that may be an excuse for the pattern, de la Renta maintained that “their jacket looks just
like mine.”
That specific piece was no longer on the floor at
Lord & Taylor when WWD showed up to investigate, but a fuzzy cell phone photo taken
in a fitting room by the designer’s employee indicated he was in fact correct, and that the proportions of a Max Mara Studio skirt were practically identical to the de la Renta design. So, at least to a certain degree, this may have been a case of the collection caper after all. It seems imitation is indeed the best form of flattery.

Article and Photo Source: WWD

-Alia Rajput

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