Sui Generis? Anna Sui, others sue Forever 21: How original are you?
by Lynn Yaeger
September 25th, 2007
Did the prisoners at Leavenworth consider suing Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel for ripping off the saggy belt-less trousers they wear in the prison yard? Did hundreds of anonymous graffiti artists sue Stephen Sprouse for printing tags on Louis Vuitton satchels? OK, you're not going to believe this—but you know Anthropologie, that place where you just bought that thick, knit, flared sweater exactly like the one Dries Van Noten showed on his runway last year? The store where you purchased all those puffy jolie-laide fake Marni dresses in charmingly hideous prints last spring? The shop that currently stocks those ersatz Marc Jacobs jackets with all the military bells and whistles that you're trying to make up your mind about? Well, that very venue is currently pursuing a lawsuit against Forever 21 for—get this—knocking off Anthropologie clothes. And just a few weeks ago, Marc Jacobs was furious with Suzy Menkes, the critic for the International Herald Tribune, who took apart his most recent runway collection, accusing Jacobs of borrowing rather too liberally from Comme des Garçons, Martin Margiela, and John Galliano. Jacobs fired back in the September 13 issue of Women's Wear Daily:
"I've never denied how influenced I am by Margiela, by Rei Kawakubo, those are people that inspire my work; I don't hide that. . . . Of course there are comparisons to other things. I'm a designer living in this world who loves fashion . . . I'm attentive to what's going on in fashion, I'm influenced by fashion, that's the way it is. I have never ever hidden it. I have never insisted on my own creativity, as Chanel would say. I have my interpretation of ideas I find very strong. Jil Sander is influenced by Comme des Garçons, Miuccia Prada is influenced by Comme des Garçons, everyone is influenced by Comme des Garçons, Martin Margiela. Anybody who's aware of what life is in a contemporary world is influenced by those designers."