Ivanka Trump at a state dinner during Chinese president Xi Jinping's first meeting with Donald Trump.
Not all is lost for Style.com, as Condé Nast admitted defeat this week and paired with Farfetch to salvage the project after spending a reported $100 million to turn the former fashion news site into a shopping destination.Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump is not only not settling the copying lawsuit that Italian footwear brand Aquazzura filed against it, the brand is playing hardball with its star witness. And while brands and celebrities do not seem to be taking the Federal Trade Commission’s advertising disclosure guidelines seriously, Instagram is.Style.com 3.0While Style.com’s revamp may not have gotten off the ground in any grand way, Condé Nast has managed to package up some of the most valuable assets of the fashion-news-site-turned-failed-e-commerce-venture in order to salvage at least some of its investment — and reputation. As reported this week, a partnership of sorts with e-commerce giant Farfetch has been born, and Condé Nast has off-loaded some of Style.com's trade secret-protected information — including its customer database — and various other forms of intellectual property, such as the Style.com trademark.In this way the deal is not terribly unlike the many retail-related bankruptcies that have come before it, which have emphasized the interest that e-commerce businesses and intellectual property rights, in general, can attract, no matter the success of the underlying brand or business, and the value that such assets can garner.Intellectual property was one of the key takeaways in the bankruptcy deals involving The Limited, American Apparel and Nasty Gal, in which outside parties vied for the companies’ IP assets, namely, their still very valuable trademarks (and associated branding, from which most fashion brands garner their appeal with consumers, after all). Also in the mix: Trade secret information, such as consumer and supplier lists, marketing techniques and other proprietary intelligence.It is here that Style.com likely holds most of its value, as well — with decades of trademark goodwill under its belt and no shortage of potential consumer information collected during its years of operation as one of the industry’s most heavily visited fashion sites — albeit one that perennially struggled financially. So even if the site could not cut it as an e-commerce powerhouse, that does not mean it doesn't stand to bring value to the Farfetch empire because of these assets.Aquazzura vs. IvankaIvanka Trump is apparently not looking to settle the trade dress and design patent infringement lawsuit filed against her brand by Aquazzura anytime soon. After filing a counterclaim of its own, seeking a ruling from the court that the Aquazzura shoes in question are not subject to trademark protection (and therefore, Ivanka Trump and its licensee Marc Fisher can continue to sell them without fear of future litigation from the Italian footwear brand), the First Daughter label is continuing to play hard ball.According to the legal team for industry darling Aquazzura, Trump’s lawyers are making it impossible for her to take part in a deposition, as requested by the other side. "We are having trouble scheduling Ivanka Trump’s deposition," Aquazzura's lawyer John Margiotta told a New York federal court judge earlier this week during a telephone hearing. "On Friday, we were notified that they are not in fact willing to produce Ms. Trump at all.”Ivanka Trump’s counsel, Darren Saunders, “said she shouldn’t be forced to testify because she doesn’t have any relevant information about the shoes” and she "was not involved in the design, promotion or sale of the shoe.” These are interesting claims considering that Trump was very vocal in the press prior to her father’s election about how hands-on she was with her brand. And this is something that Aquazzura's counsel reminded U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest.Even though Trump announced that she was stepping away from her label in January, she is being plagued with no shortage of bad press nonetheless (as is her father). It can prove difficult to escape liability — either legally and/or purely in terms of media attention — when the brand at issue bears an individual’s own name, regardless of his/her actual level of involvement.Therefore, Trump is being dragged through the mud for consistent issues regarding her brand — whether it be the labor standards (or lack thereof) being employed by its suppliers, allegations that the brand is intentionally profiting from the press that comes with the Trump Administration, or the seemingly unending claims of copying, including but certainly not limited to the case with Aquazzura.As for whether Trump will actually be able to avoid testifying under oath for a deposition, it might be somewhat likely. Forrest said she will decide this upcoming week whether Trump will be required to be deposed. Either way, Forrest stated that she hopes the parties “can find a way to limit the questioning” of Trump by first taking testimony from Abigail Klem, president of the Ivanka Trump brand. “There’s no doubt that Ms. Trump has a second job right now,” Forrest reportedly told the two sides’ attorneys.Instagram Steps in, FTC Stays MumCelebrities, influencers and fashion brands continue to blatantly disregard federal truth in advertising laws and it appears that Instagram wants no part of any potential liability that could come its way at some point. The social media platform — which plays host to a truly significant amount of undisclosed or improperly disclosed sponsored content — has taken the Federal Trade Commission’s recent warnings into account and is in the process of rolling out a feature to enable users to easily indicate posts that are sponsored, as well as a “branded content” policy with which its users will have to abide.The FTC has long required that advertisers and endorsers “clearly and conspicuously” disclose any material connections they have in regard to content posted online or in print. The trend to date, however, has been for the industry’s most visible and influential brands and influencers to flout the FTC’s guidelines, leading the commission to take a small amount of action over the years, which most recently saw it sending letters to 90 brands and celebrities in order to educate them about its disclosure rules.Instagram says the move is a step towards transparency. It seems to me that the social media platform is making a smart legal decision here in hopes of potentially sidestepping secondary liability claims that may come its way if the FTC decides to go after more than just the brands and influencers.Julie Zerbo is the founder of The Fashion Law.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews