Nine months after Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion and president of Chanel SAS, slammed Saint Laurent for featuring tweed suits similar to classic Chanel styles in its fall 2021 collection, the two houses took out a joint ad in WWD on Thursday pledging their commitment to protecting the intellectual property of French luxury brands.
“French fashion and couture houses are essential elements of the heritage of France. Their creativity, savoir faire and their ability to inspire millions of people around the world contribute to the global influence of French industry. We must protect true creativity and ingenuity from parasitical companies whose business models depend on plagiarism and counterfeiting,” the ad read.
“Chanel and Saint Laurent also have a long history of mutual respect and are aligned and support each other in defending creation against all attempts from actors whose business models undermine or dilute the value of their creations and investments,” it added.
The statement surprised observers, with some wondering whether it was part of a new industrywide initiative, while others noted the similarity in language to Pavlovsky’s original criticism of Saint Laurent in an interview with WWD published on May 4.
“How sad to see a brand like that parasite another brand. Saint Laurent is a magnificent brand. I think it’s such a shame not to write your own history and to have to sponge off someone else. But the customers won’t be fooled. The customers will decide which brand makes the most beautiful tweed jacket. I’m not too worried,” he said at the time.
Asked to clarify the meaning of the joint ad, Chanel said it was not directed at any company in particular. It declined to confirm or deny whether the publication was linked to any legal action.
“Our two houses have a deep respect for their peers and for all the houses that contribute to the reputation and excellence of French and international couture. At a time when many companies are trying to profit from the codes, the image and creations of our historic houses, we felt it was appropriate to reaffirm our willingness to protect what makes French fashion so valuable,” Chanel said in a statement sent to WWD.
“We are not referring to any company with this announcement. We are sharing this statement to express our common commitment to protect creativity and savoir faire from business models that depend on plagiarism and counterfeiting. Both houses are aligned and, where appropriate, will support each other in defending creativity from parasitical business practices,” it concluded.
Consider it case closed.