A Smashbox makeup artist is suing LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and its subsidiary Make Up For Ever, alleging the makeup brand ripped off images of her lip art for recent holiday products.
Vlada Haggerty, a Ukrainian makeup artist based in Los Angeles who recently became “lip editor in chief” for Smashbox after gaining some notoriety for her elaborate lip art, said in a Monday Instagram post that Make Up For Ever first asked her to collaborate on a collection, but she declined “multiple times.”
“They clearly went ahead and used my images anyway,” Haggerty told her nearly 810,000 followers.
In her complaint with a California federal court, Haggerty also referenced comments and direct messages she’s received in Instagram over the Make Up For Ever images, with followers allegedly asking whether or simply presuming she was working with the brand due to the similarities between the images.
The Haggerty images allegedly being copied show a woman’s lips caked with yellow gold or rose gold lacquer that is beginning to drip from the bottom lip. Make Up For Ever’s image looks to be a digital representation of lips in a rose hue dripping from the bottom with a horizontal split. The image was used on packaging for a limited holiday edition of its “Lustrous” line, but also appears to be an updated take on its original logo.
Haggerty claims she was approached by Make Up For Ever for a collaboration in 2016, but informed them she was under an exclusive contract with another brand. Make Up For Ever asked if there was “a possible work-around,” and Haggerty told them there was not, according to the complaint.
Haggerty is working with Smashbox, which is owned by the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. Neither company is a party to the lawsuit and neither could be reached for comment on Haggerty’s action.
“After Ms. Haggerty declined [Make Up For Ever]’s requests, MUFE went ahead and performed its own unauthorized ‘work-around’ and adopted a logo for its new line of ‘Lustrous’ cosmetics [and] directly copied Ms. Haggerty’s most famous trademark and copyrighted works,” Haggerty wrote in her complaint. “The copy is so similar that it gives consumers the false impression that Ms. Haggerty is collaborating with MUFE when she is not.”
Haggerty went on to claim that the similarities between her rose gold lip art and Make Up For Ever’s Lustrous design are “undeniable” and that the brand “simply combined” two of her “most famous images.”
A representative for LVMH could not be reached for comment.
Lip imagery has been finding its way into the courts lately. British artist Sara Pope last year sued Kylie Jenner for lip imagery she used on her cosmetics line, claiming it was a copy of a neon artwork she had made. The suit settled out of court in October.
Haggerty also took issue with Jenner’s imagery in 2015, claiming her dripping lips and another image of red lips and gold hands was copied for Kylie Cosmetics. Although she alluded to possible legal action on Instagram at the time, no legal action was taken and Kylie subsequently took to Instagram posting images of Haggerty’s work while citing the makeup artist.
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