The legal dance between footwear designer Donald Pliner and the company that owns his name is underway.
DJP Holdings asked a Delaware federal judge for a preliminary injunction against Pliner and his wife, Lisa Pliner, who are getting back into the footwear game with two lines, From the Mountains of Italy and From the Beaches of Spain.
That’s a little too close for comfort for DJP, which noted in its suit filed Aug. 1 that it had long-standing rights to the marks: Made in the Mountains of Italy and Made on the Beaches of Spain.
A spokeswoman for the DJP said, “The company is requesting a preliminary injunction so that the court can quickly intervene and stop the Pliners from advertising, marketing, shipping, displaying and offering for sale, or selling any footwear that uses their names, likenesses, and/or any company branding at any point in the supply chain, including at wholesale or in retail stores.”
Castanea Partners bought control of the Donald Pliner business in 2011 and employed the designer through last year. (Last month, the company named Javan Bunch as chief executive officer).
Once Pliner’s non-compete agreement ran out, he got to work on his new line.
After the lawsuit was file by DJP, he said in a statement: “I am sad and disappointed by this news. In an effort not to publicly harm the brand and the value of the company I founded and in which I hold a minority interest, I did not seek a public confrontation. Instead, I fully complied with my contract obligations after the one-year non-compete period. I just launched two new collections meant to present my vision, craftsmanship, and personalized attention to the public. The only explanation I have is that this must be a misguided attempt to prevent the launch of my new collections.”
On Sunday, he put out another statement noting that it had a new showroom at 14 East 60th Street in Manhattan and would display the line at the FN Platform trade show in Las Vegas.
The statement described this as the first time in over 27 years that Pliner “finds himself as an independent designer, away from the eponymous label Donald J. Pliner he founded in 1989.”
The statement added the designer personally designed the two new collections, spending the last month directing and overseeing the creation of every style firsthand in Italy and Spain and was careful to point out that “designer Donald J. Pliner no longer designs for the namesake brand.”
Last month, the designer told Footwear News, “I had to change everything, [but] it’s always going to look like me. I had to come back so people know who I really am. Everything is new. [And] the materials and colors are going to separate them from what’s in the market…I realized that [the name] doesn’t matter because I know who I am now. [These collections are] the true Donald Pliner. This is my next chapter.”