The Buzz

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Versace Wins Four-and-a-Half Year Case Against Counterfeiter

Donatella Versace

Image: Michael Carpenter/WENN.com

After four-and-a-half years of crying money, Italian fashion house Versace has won a legal victory against Griffith Suisse Luxury Group, which is the misleading name of a Philippines- and Australia-based company which sold knock-off versions of the label on eBay. 

Counterfeit designer goods have been a huge problem for the online auction giant. Tiffany & Co. sued the company after the jeweler determined that 83% of its listed products were in fact counterfeited. In 2010, eBay won a dismissal of the case.

Another high profile legal tangle: in 2008, a French court ordered the retailer to pay luxury group LVMH $61 million in damages — but the decision was overturned in 2012. 

Pursuing legal action against eBay hasn't proven to be the most effective route for companies seeking to protect their trademark in online sales. eBay currently has a policy against counterfeiting, promising customers a full refund in case they inadvertently buy a knock-off. The retailer has also been hosting an anti-counterfeit online campaign, You Can't Fake Fashion, in partnership with the CFDA since 2011. 

Versace's recent lawsuit and victory show the fashion industry taking a different approach to reducing online sales of designer fakes. Instead of holding eBay responsible for listed knock-offs, the Italian brand took action against the actual counterfeiting group. And won! 

But the lengthy litigation seems like a testament to how inhospitable the legal climate can often be to companies hoping to protect themselves against even the most blatant forms of trademark infringement. For Versace, the process took almost five years and who knows how many millions of dollars. 

[Update, July 15th, 2013: Griffith-Suisse Luxury Group has contacted me with a statement refuting the above report and claiming they were the ones to initiate a lawsuit. 

From Griffith-Suisse: 

"It was Griffith Suisse Luxury Group who first initiated the lawsuit against Versace and eBay in 2008. Versace was alleged to have abused its VERO rights by instructing eBay to take down multiple of Griffith-Suisse Luxury Group’s listings even though they were evidently all authentic.  eBay took the listings down without the required NOIC (Notice of Claimed Infringement), clearly abetting the luxury brand’s attempt to control the market by removing goods without evidence or basis.  As a matter of fact, eBay has not been able to produce a single properly filled out NOIC document for any luxury items de-listed on Griffith-Suisse Luxury Group’s eBay account.  It is obvious that eBay has been making biased decisions in favor of the luxury brands at the detriment of it’s own sellers [sic]."

The company sent me a copy of the complaint filed with the Santa Clara County Court, urging me to verify it with the courts in California. The document is dated October 2011. 

Versace's four-and-a-half year legal battle and subsequent victory was initially reported by WWD, and then broadly covered by many other media outlets. 

I reached out to Versace for a comment on the victory back in May. Separately I also wrote to Susan Scafidi, a copyright lawyer who specializes in fashion law, for more context on whether this was, as some were claiming, a "landmark decision." I haven't heard back.]

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Anna Wintour, Terry Richardson, Marc Jacobs: What Were They Like As Kids? [Comics]

For anyone that prefers fashion celebrity to tabloid or mainstream celebrity, the appeal is twofold: 1) As shiny and beautiful as any reality star, Anna Wintour and Marc Jacobs & co are also the public faces of a multibillion dollar global industry. Forget what you've heard: the fashion elite don't just stand there looking pretty, they do things. Important things. Like photographing models eating meat. 2) Celebrity is a distorted image. What we see of famous people isn't fake, it's just an out-of-proportion take on their personalities. But pairing a warped celebrity lens with a larger-than-life fashion persona? The result is magical fairy happiness laughter fireworks. 

Which is why I wanted to share a few installments of the fashion comic "When They Were Kids" which imagines outsize fashion personalities as wee little babes. I think we all need a laugh today, especially after viewing the Marc Jacobs Fall 2013 ad

Which, speaking of…

When They Were Kids - Marc Jacobs

via When They Were Kids

When They Were Kids

via When They Were Kids

When They Were Kids

When They Were Kids

When They Were Kids

via When They Were Kids

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Gatsby Breakout Elizabeth Debicki Literally Dwarfs the Competition in Christian Dior

Elizabeth-Debicki

image: Getty

Elizabeth Debicki’s star is set to rise at light-speed thanks to Baz Luhrmann’s decadent 3D dazzle-fest The Great Gatsby, but it’s not only excessive theatrics (and an otherwise A-list cast) from which she’s managing to set herself apart.

For the Sydney leg of Gatsby’s premiere last week, Debicki wore a floral-skirted Christian Dior gown from the Spring 2013 collections. It’s not the first time the dress has appeared on a lanky Aussie blonde with a rapidly escalating career – Brisbane model Nicole Pollard was the one who wore it down the Dior runway last spring — and certainly a six-foot frame is a desired asset when you’re hoping to look this stunning.

Before Gatsby, Debicki’s acting career consisted only of a bit part in Stephan Elliott’s comedy A Few Best Men. With the stoic red carpet presence of Rooney Mara, the doe-eyed innocence of Sophie Lowe and the elfin balletic athleticism of Cate Blanchett, Debicki is fully equipped to be Australia’s next major export. And if her next role isn’t a 3D motion one, we can fully see her as the face of a big fragrance campaign. 

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The Buzz Forum Buzz

The New Marc Jacobs Fall 2013 Campaign is ‘Creepy’ (Forum Buzz)

The new Marc Jacobs Fall 2013 campaign is ‘creepy’ (Forum Buzz)

Edie Campbell and Lily McMenamy nabbed the new Marc Jacobs Fall 2013 ad campaign, which surfaced online yesterday. Both models already walked in the most recent Marc Jacobs runway show and the campaign was once again shot by photographer Juergen Teller. Forum members were neither wowed by the model cast nor the concept of the campaign. Responses to the first preview for the campaign were mostly negative:

“This picture is creeping me out. Not looking forward to seeing it in magazines and having a mini heart attack every time those two girls stare at me from the pages,” wrote TheItGirl.

kewkaw noted that the image looked “like a Scary Pajama Ad” and Cold found that “it looks like a teen depression campaign. Edie is really getting her sad on.”

“This is so bad I actually like it,” laughed jmrmartinho

Melancholybaby admitted, “With all these elements I should hate it, but it is strangely attractive. Eager to see more.” 

It is always hard to judge an entire campaign from just one preview, but I am certainly eager to see more of the campaign as well. If only to see if other shots might be less frightening and hopefully focus a little more on the collection itself rather than the unconventional look of the featured models.

mj-f2013-campaign-c


Image Credits: @thelovemagazine instagram and marcjacobs.com

 

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Recall: Asos Pulls Radioactive Belts

Asos-belts

>Another dark side to contemporary manufacturing practices: US border patrol quarantined a shipment of Asos leather peplum belts after the attached metal studs tested positive for Cobolt-60, a radioactive isotope, The Guardian reports. 

The UK company has issued a worldwide recall of the item, which will cause injury if worn for more than 500 hours. 

The belts are said to be manufactured by an Indian supplier called Haq Manufacturing, which Asos has been working with for over a year, but the Guardian has not been able to verify that the contaminated belt matches any of the items available in Haq Manufacturing's product list. Asos is demanding £100,000 in damages from the supplier and has withheld £64,000 in payment to the Indian company, which has been forced to cancel orders for another trendy UK brand, Miss Selfridge, and close its factory for five months — 18 Indian workers are now out of work.  

According to an internal Asos report seen by The Guardian, the radioactivity was caused by the process for refining scrap metal. It reads in part:

 "Unfortunately, this incident is quite a common occurrence. India and the far east are large consumers of scrap metal for their home and foreign markets. During the refining process of these metals, orphaned radioactive sources are sometimes accidentally melted at the same time. This in turn [contaminates the process] and traps the radioactivity in the metal as an alloy or in suspension."

The Buzz Latest News

Link Buzz: Calvin Klein Talking To His Ex Again; January Jones on Diane Kruger

  • Calvin Klein and Nick Gruber

    Calvin Klein and Nick Gruber / via Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com

    Calvin Klein and his 23-year old (ex-)boyfriend Nick Gruber have kissed and made up. *LuV<3* [PageSix]
     
  • Bar·rettes: Totally happening. [BellaSugar]
     
  • By wearing pastel denim, Jessica Alba urges you to also wear pastel denim. [FabSugar]
     
  • When January Jones says that she and Diane Kruger "fight each other" for red carpet gowns, I really hope she means it in the literal sense. [Fashionologie]
     
  • Taylor Swift gives style tips to sell Keds. [MTVStyle]
     
  • Fashion photographer Mario Testino is doing a Peru-inspired line for Net-A-Porter. [Telegraph]

 

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