A leopard might not be able to change its spots, but an interior design firm believes those spots can be trademarked.
Design firm Tony Duquette Inc. last week slapped J. Crew Group Inc. with a lawsuit that alleges the retailer’s leopard-print cardigan infringed its trademarks and constituted unfair competition.
Beverly Hills, Calif.-based TDI, which holds the intellectual property rights of the late designer and artist Tony Duquette, claims in its suit, filed in the Southern District of New York, that J. Crew promoted and sold its women’s “Duquette Leopard Print Sweater” without permission.
The complaint alleges that the plaintiff’s marks are now connected to J. Crew’s product at retail, in advertising and in more than 150,000 online searches from various search engines.
In the Fifties, Duquette began creating and using leopard print designs for fabric, wallpaper, carpet, clothing and furniture. As a result, the print became a “signature theme” of his designs and “still remains such a defining and recurring element” in his history, according to the court papers submitted by TDI.
After Duquette’s death in 1999, business partner and designer Hutton Wilkinson, who is also named as a plaintiff in the suit, took the helm at TDI and has continued to design, license, promote and market the late designer’s work.
“We filed this claim to ensure our trademarks are used appropriately and only with our permission,” said Wilkinson, president and creative director of the firm.
Calls to J. Crew seeking comment were not immediately returned by press time.
TDI is looking for injunctive relief, damages, attorneys’ fees and other costs.
“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
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast