Today’s Fashion Headlines. April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012 • Fashion, Fashion Blog

Rag & Bone Madison Ave.

Edgier Downtown Stores Finally Heading Uptown?

I may finally be able to say I live in a cool section of NYC instead of stodgy. Edgier brands like Rag & Bone, Zadig & Voltaire, Proenza Schouler and Maje and Sandro are reportedly migrating above 72nd Street! I for one couldn’t be happier (I have a double stroller and money to spend!). The retail landscape on Madison Avenue is shifting toward the cooler, edgier confines of SoHo. Don’t worry, upper-crusters, Lanvin and Valentino have new storefronts under construction in the hood too. Yet, now there will be stores both my mother and I can enjoy! I just hope YSL reopens uptown too! Hate to admit that was my favorite haunt.

Celebrity Weddings Boosting Bridal Boudoir Business

This years’ high-profile weddings, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake, Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson, Britney Spears and Jason Trawick, and Anne Hathaway and Adam Shulman. Weddings from last year made the bridal wardrobe, including undergarments that create a flawless figure, became a hot subject on TV Talk Show, in fashion magazines and social media. The Duchess of Cambridge’s sheer hosiery, led to a renewed interest in sheer legwear worldwide. Good thing it wasn’t suntan hose! Executives say it could have the same affect on intimates and bolster the $53.3 billion bridal market. According to The Wedding Report Inc., sales of bridal intimates and wedding dress accessories are expected to total $265 million this year, an increase of 10%.

Wal-Mart Bribery Investigation

Is Wal-Mart really that bad or is everyone just out to squash the discount giant? The company has denied claims made by The New York Times on Saturday that it covered up evidence that executives at Wal-Mart Mexico paid bribes in 2005 to obtain permits to build stores in the country.

In 1991, Mexico became home to Wal-Mart’s first oversees operations and today counts as one of the retailer’s largest global markets with 2,088 doors and sales of just over 379 billion pesos, or $29 billion, last year. In December, the retailer filed a quarterly report with the SEC, informing shareholders that it had launched an investigation on the matter. According to the New York Times, Sergio Cicero Zapata, a former Wal-Mart executive, sent an e-mail to the retailer’s lawyer that described how its Mexico unit had “orchestrated a campaign of bribery to win market dominance.”

The focus of the Times’ allegations centered around how Wal-Mart responded to Zapata’s accusations. According to the newspaper, after Zapata alerted Wal-Mart of the bribery, an internal investigation was launched, and evidence of hundreds of suspect payments adding up to more than $24 million were unearthed in the retailer’s Mexico City headquarters.

The Times said the retailer’s lead investigator believed that there was reasonable suspicion that U.S. and Mexican laws had been violated and that an expanded investigation should be conducted. Instead, Wal-Mart’s leaders shut down proceedings without alerting government officials, said the newspaper, noting that none of the retailer’s executives were disciplined either.

The Plaintiff Rests: Gucci vs. Guess

The three-week trial, in which Gucci accused Guess Inc. of devising a “massive scheme” with its licensees to infringe on the luxury brand’s trademarks, finally ended last Thursday. Gucci had accused Guess of knocking off Gucci product, including goods that featured the brand’s diamond-shaped logoed pattern, square “G” design, a signature script and tri-striped motif. Gucci was seeking damages of $221 million and injunctive relief. Yet, Guess’ Paul Marciano had the best legal team his money could buy. His attorney, Daniel Petrocelli of O’Melveny & Myers LLP ( O.J. Simpson and Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling) gave a stellar closing argument.  He built an argument that called into question Gucci’s motive for suing Guess three years ago after what Gucci alleges was nearly two decades of infringement. Petrocelli then addressed the allegedly infringing marks, describing the script and square G designs in question as “weak trademarks” since other brands had similar designs.

Switching gears, Petrocelli said Gucci must have been aware of what it sees as Guess’ infringing designs for years. The attorney asked the court why the plaintiff waited until 2009 to sue Guess they were thought to be knocking off Gucci for years. Gucci feels Guess’ “entire business model” was to come “as close to Gucci as you can” without being “noticed.”

But the judge seemed somewhat influenced by the defense’s argument that if Gucci had a problem with Guess’ designs, it should have acted sooner. She asked how Gucci could miss the “infringement” for so long.The verdict is ecxpected in a few months.

Source & Photos: WWD

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