PARIS -- Yves Saint Laurent has sued Ralph Lauren in France for allegedly copying a tuxedo-dress by the French designer.

Lawyers for YSL have filed suit with the commercial court of Paris, accusing the American designer of copying a haute couture dress from Saint Laurent.

"It's one thing to 'draw inspiration' from another designer; it's quite another to rip off a design, line for line, cut for cut, which is what Ralph Lauren did. That's entirely unacceptable and has to be stopped," said Pierre Berge, Saint Laurent's partner. "This is the height of bad taste, and we are determined to do something about it," said Berge.

A source at Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., who declined to be named, described the YSL suit as "off the wall."

A spokeswoman for Lauren said, "The lawsuit was begun in France. They claim that no one has the right to make a dress

that looks like a tuxedo."

Yann Kerlau, general counsel for Elf-Sanofi, which controls the YSL company, said the Saint Laurent tuxedo-dress was from the designer's autumn-winter 1992-1993 couture collection.

The Ralph Lauren dress that YSL alleges is a copy first came to Elf-Sanofi's attention when it appeared in a fashion editorial in a December 1992 edition of French magazine Jours de France Madame.

A copy of the magazine, submitted by YSL attorneys to the court as evidence, shows Lauren's double breasted tuxedo-dress, similar to the YSL dress, but with darker buttons and a narrower lapel.

Lauren reportedly did not show the dress on the runway.

Lawyers for the two sides are scheduled to present their arguments at a hearing before the commercial court in Paris on April 27.

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