WASHINGTON -- More than $1 million of counterfeit Louis Vuitton, Gucci and MCM products are slated to go up in smoke in Chicago today, incinerated at the hands of the U.S. Customs Service.
"That sounds like something we can be happy about," said Anna Levin, vice president, general counsel of Louis Vuitton NA, New York.
The 393 boxes of purses, wallets, handbags, portfolios and carry-on bags constituted the largest cache of counterfeit imports ever discovered in Chicago, said Richard Roster, Customs' Chicago district director.
The goods were found by a Customs inspector in 1988, hidden in the hollow tops of a shipment of tables imported from South Korea, Roster said.
For the last five years the seized goods have been stored in a warehouse as the local office of the U.S. Attorney weighed how to handle the case, eventually deciding not to prosecute, Roster said.
"Nobody was arrested and nobody was charged," said Bill Thomas, assistant special agent in charge in the Chicago Customs office.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney said she could not comment on specific cases. But, she said, in order to bring any case to court, "we would have to be able to prove that a federal crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt."
The merchandise was imported by a vendor from Chicago's south side, according to an agency statement.
The incineration originally was scheduled for Tuesday, but "there was so much press coverage we couldn't get it done," Roster said. Customs staged a photo opportunity Tuesday of inspectors taking a routine last look at the seized goods.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia