NEW YORK — Macy’s Inc.’s trial against Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. Inc. continued Tuesday with testimony from expert witnesses for the defendants.
Called “hired guns” at one point during the trial by presiding Judge Jeffrey Oing, the witnesses called by the defense sought to prove that in selling Martha Stewart wares at Penney’s, Macy’s would not be harmed. Typically, expert witnesses conduct surveys or examine data research to refute a claim made by opposing counsel.
For MSLO, Erich Joachimsthaler, founder and chief executive officer of Vivaldi Partners Group, a global strategy, innovation and marketing firm, maintained that Macy’s would not be injured should Penney’s be permitted to sell either branded or unbranded Stewart products.
Although Stewart’s brand is recognized by consumers and has a strong reputation, its brand identity is not clear to consumers. He noted that many consumers surveyed were confused as to where to buy Stewart wares, and that many still believed they could be purchased at Kmart, which no longer sells the goods.
“A brand is like a box in someone’s head. It’s like a name or like a label,” Joachimsthaler said, noting that Stewart’s brand has “ample room to grow” in the home goods market. He also offered that a shopper usually thinks of need first over brand, and not the contrary, which Macy’s has claimed.
“People don’t wake up in the morning and say, ‘I want to buy Martha Stewart,’” he said. “They wake up and say, ‘I want to buy a new pillow case.’”
The executive’s testimony spoke to whether any injury had been suffered by Macy’s. Once that is established, then the retailer can seek relief, MSLO lawyer Eric Seiler said, emphasizing that “no injury” has been sustained to date, as branded Stewart product has yet to be sold.
But Macy’s attorney Theodore Grossman read a passage from a book Joachimsthaler wrote in which the marketer said a brand would be “damaged” if it opened up lower-tier distribution.
“It’s correct, generally,” Joachimsthaler said.
Macy’s has argued that by selling to Penney’s, the Stewart brand is being weakened. Macy’s has said during the trial that it has spent years elevating the home goods brand after Stewart’s deal with Kmart expired in 2009.
When asked how he could know, with the absence of sales data, if Macy’s wouldn’t be harmed by Penney’s sale of Stewart’s goods, the witness backpedaled. “It’s better to have actual sales,” he said, but “there’s a lot” of data on consumer behavior and “in this case it’s overwhelming.”
“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