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The Official Page of The Fashion Law.

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    Here are some of our favorite street style shots from New York Fashion Week featuring Miroslava Duma, Lily Scout Kwong, Emmanuelle Alt and other show-goers. Check back tomorrow for more shots we love ... 

    images courtesy of fabsugar

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    Just because we were on the front lines of New York Fashion Week, does not mean the fashion law world was doing the same. So, here's a recap of what we missed over the past week or so, including the latest in Instagram lawsuits, Gucci's win over Prada, Tiffany's suit against Costco and more ...  


    Tiffany & Co. filed suit on Thursday against Costco in a NY federal court, stemming from the discount retailer's alleged sale of counterfeit engagement rings. According to Tiffany's complaint, Costco was selling "Tiffany rings" and promoting them as such on signs in its Huntington Beach, Calif., store. (Some of which were being sold for over $1 million). Tiffany owns nearly 40 trademarks that cover their trademark in conjunction with rings, including the online representation of their mark. Thus, Costco was participating in trademark counterfeiting. Even though Costco has agreed to take the signs down (following a Tiffany cease and desist letter), Tiffany's lawyer, Jeffrey Mitchell of Dickstein Shapiro, has emphasized the damage the brand’s “name and goodwill" from the association with Costco. Tiffany & Co. is seeking a permanent injunction and damages.  

    The sale of luxury goods is making a comebackin the U.S. following a major decline beginning in 2008. According to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, wealthy Americans are once again spending freely on expensive clothing, accessories, jewelry and beauty products. LVMH, Cartier, and Hermes have reported growth in the U.S., and Gucci parent co., PPR, is expected to report a similar growth in profits on Friday. 

    Following a nearly 10 year old legal battle between Italian design houses Gucci and Prada, Gucci has come out on top. Muiccia Prada's company brought suit in 2004, accusing Gucci of tortious interference in its acquisition of Italian footwear manufacturer Regain. In 2001, Gucci acquired a 70% share in the Italian men's footwear company. A Florence court ruled that Prada's claims are unfounded and thus, the company is not entitled to the $34 million in damages is was seeking from Gucci. Further, Prada is responsible for Gucci's litigation fees and expenses. 

    Remember those new Instagram terms of use that went into effect on January 16? Instagram was in a California federal court on Wednesday asking to court to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit alleging its new User Policy abuses users by selling their photos to third-party advertisers. Plaintiff Lucy Funes sued Instagram in December after Instagram initially announced the impending changes, which included the Facebook-owned company's right to license public Instagram photos to third parties for advertising purposes, without notifying or compensating the user. Funes alleges that the new terms violate California privacy laws by giving Instagram broad rights over users' personal pictures. To this, Instagram argues that Funes was not injured as her content was misappropriated, and because she can cancel her Instagram account at any time. More to come ...

    Bloggers this one is for you. Steve Carbone, who runs a site dedicated to spilling reality TV secrets has been in court for over a year now with producers of The Bachelor. The initial suit (which has since been settled) stems from Reality Steve's attempts to get contestants to breach their confidentiality agreements and share info with him. The current suit stems from the producers' claims that the spoilers Carbone has posted are "nonpublic information," such as which contestant will be cut on the following week's episode. Carbone has filed a motion to dismiss, accusing the show's producers of interfering with his First Amendment rights (including his right to free speech). More to come ...
    images courtesy of instagram

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    For our Sunday Style feature, here are some more of our favorite street style shots from New York Fashion Week. The street style icons include ... Miroslava Duma and her BFF Natasha Goldenberg, Anna Dello Russo (the editor-at-large and creative consultant for Vogue Japan), Grey Ant designer Natalie Levy, the Courtin Clarins girls, models Karlie Kloss and Liu Wen, and more ... Who is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!

    images courtesy of fabsugar

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    Just when I thought the celebrity-turned-fashion designer movement simply could not get any worse, I was wrong. Rihanna made her Fashion Week debut on Sunday in London, and the result was ... pathetic. Now don't get me wrong; my expectations were epically low. I was prepared for a collection of unimaginative and slutty garments (with hints of domestic violence), but this collection makes Kanye West look like the modern day Coco Chanel. I was formerly unaware that London Fashion Week is the appropriate forum to show vulgar dresses devoid of any real design, nipple-bearing mesh tops, underwear as pants, bathing suits for fall and the other gems in Rihanna's self-described “casual, chic and flirty” collection. However, if you're in the market for some cheap, hooker-inpired attire, you are in luck! Maybe the best part: Rihanna didn't actually design the collection, which implies that this is River Island's take on the singer's style. And while she must be flattered, I'm thoroughly unamused. Please stick to singing about S&M and "cake," sweetheart.

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    PR powerhouse, KCD, announced last January that it was launching a new service that would produce some of the New York Fashion Week runway shows online via a password-protected website for editors. Now, a year later, all of the New York Fashion Week shows held at Lincoln Center were available to anyone with a computer to watch via live stream. While that may sound exciting and serve as yet another way for brands to connect with their non-NYC based fans, is it really a positive practice? With far more mass market collaborations selling than most designer garments, it seems that the fashion industry has somehow gone astray in balancing brands' visibility and the subsequent sale of these brands' wares. 

    Design piracy has become almost inevitable, regardless of whether shows are available to watch at the precise time models hit the runway. So, taking fast fashion and design piracy out of the equation for now, the sense of immediacy that comes from live streams of runway shows, Twitter pictures, NowFashion (a site that posts images mere moments after they hit the runway), and other sources alike, seems to be the culprit. Instant gratification removes from fashion the anticipation that we once knew. The closest thing we have come to it lately? Tom Ford's initial shows following his return to womenswear. Regardless of your opinion about his designs, you must admit that the lack of immediate photos, videos and in-depth details following his runway shows (due to a strict guest list and no photo-taking policy enforced by Ford), made you excited to see the collection. We savored the word-of-mouth info that slowly emerged about the collections and seeing the full lookbook a few months later was newsworthy. Yet, we are becoming increasingly removed from that, as more means of technology allow us to preview collections and attend the shows or see them in real time. And while you may not agree, I firmly believe the ease with which people can watch the shows and the resulting lack of exclusivity, affects the sales of goods that are sold by both big name and emerging designers. Thoughts?

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    You may have caught our tweet last week that mass market retailer, Target's stock increased 15% following the debut of designer Prabal Gurung's collection. The 80-piece collection, which was inspired by love, was a huge success! With blouses retailing for around $25, dresses for $35, and shoes for $30, it seems Target was back on-point for this collaboration. The young designer's collection comes on the heels of the CFDA x Neiman Marcus x Target collaboration, which consisted of $75+ canvas totes, yoga mats and home goods, and barely sold. Gurung's collection, on the other hand, sold out in nearly one day.

    It is simply unfair to even imply that the success of Prabal's collection rests upon appropriate price points because it is more than that. The fashion industry (along with Michelle Obama and many big name Hollywood starlets) has been on Team Prabal for some time now. He is young, fresh, innovative and undeniably talented. However, how his industry-wide appeal would translate to mainstream America was questionable. I, for one, wasn't entirely sure if the world outside of fashion knew who the Prabal Gurung we all adore is, but it turns out, America loves Prabal. His designs for Target are wearable, beautiful and fun. The success of the collection (and Target's stock) shows that the young designer has mastered yet another aspect of the industry, proving yet again, that he is not to be taken lightly. 

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    ISAORA has never been your typical menswear brand. Japanese and Italian materials, dip-dyed fabrics, merino/cotton knit blends from New Zealand meet classic high-performance attire. The design duo's latest project: a collaboration with 13 artists/designers to benefit Waves 4 Water, a foundation providing continuing assistance to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. ISAORA gave 13 artists, including Kenzo Minami, the Lake and Stars' Mayaan Zilberman, Kenji Hirata, Hisham Akira, and more, its Riding Shell jacket to customize and then put the finished works up for auction. Fashion for a cause never looked so good! In case you missed it, see all of the super-cool jackets below, and shop ISAORA here - including my favorite 

    from left: Pete Chung/Patty Lu, Kenji Hirata & Hisham Akira

    Kenzo Minami (left) & Amelie Chabannes (right)

    Seonna Hong (left) & Mayaan Zilberman (right) 

     Othelo Gervacio (left) & KATSU (right)

    Rostarr (left) & Craig Redman (right)

    Curtis Kulig (left) & Aerosyn-Lex (right)
    images courtesy of ebay

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    Fashion Month bid New York adieu and landed across the pond in London, where fashion royalty will gather for a week. Here are some of the highlights from the first day, including the Fall 2013 collections of Marios Schwab, Preen, Mary Katrantzou, Matthew Williamson and more. London is the home of an extraordinary amount of design talent, much of which comes from emerging-level designers. As Alexander McQueen once said, "British fashion is self confident and fearless. It refuses to bow to commerce." 

    Marios Schwab

    David Koma

    Jonathan Saunders

    Duro Olowu

    Mary Katrantzou

    Julien Macdonald

    Preen by Thorton Bregazzi

    Matthew Williamson
    images courtesy of

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    Fashion blogs have been featuring so-called "parody" t-shirts (and other "parody" wares) pretty consistently for some time now. We didn't thoroughly analyze the harm presented by some of these "designs" initially. However, after increased speculation, we've concluded that these "parody" shirts are worthy of more attention. Namely: are they even parodies? That's a term that carries some significant legal and policy-grounded meaning to it. So, it seems we are doing Brian Lichtenberg, Conflict of Interest and other manufacturers a big favor by automatically assuming these goods are parodies and not plain trademark infringement. 

    Trademark infringement quite often takes the form of the intentional and unauthorized use of another party's trademark with the intent of tapping into the established appeal of the trademark owner's brand. This seems to be exactly what the "parody" t-shirt makers are doing. These manufacturers are making a profit from riding the coattails, so to speak, of well-known, in-demand, and often pricey brands, such as Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, and Balenciaga, etc. So, while Balenciaga hasn't trademarked "Ballinciaga" and Givenchy doesn't have a registration for the "Giraunchy" mark, trademark infringement may still be in order. The issue of likelihood of confusion, and the defense of parody, in general, is decided on a very factual basis. As such, we won't speculate on each of the different t-shirts and the high fashion brands they are ripping off, but we wouldn't be surprised if companies start taking action as the number of so-called "parodies" continues to increase.   

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    In a less conventional Some Thoughts From post today, here is a quote from former fashion editor for The Washington Post and now a fashion critic and correspondent for The Daily Beast, Robin Givhan. You probably know that for five years, Christophe Decarnin served as a director at French design house Balmain. He helped the revive the house, which was not really on the radar in 2005, and the result: Balmania. Ripped t-shirts with $1k price tags that sold out, painted-on motocycle pants and ultra-short mini dresses. When Decarnin left the house in 2011, with rumors swirling that he was in a mental institution, Givhan wasted no time in sharing her thoughts that Balmain and the industry as a whole is better off without Decarnin ... 

    “Certainly, the fashion industry – as a purveyor of beauty ideals, fine craftsmanship, and creativity – is better off without the aesthetic that [Decarnin] and Balmain popularized…The cost of his fully bedazzled mini-dresses could reach well into tens of thousands of dollars, easily making a couture client hyperventilate. His tailored jackets, though beautifully cut, were also a king’s ransom at $10,000. In fairness, some of the prices could be explained by the skill put into the cutting and the elaborate beadwork – one Prince-inspired collection, for example, featured frock coats lacquered in gold sequins. But Decarnin’s tattered jeans and t-shirts were equally as expensive – think $1,000 for an artfully torn tank top. And no, he did not come to clients’ homes himself with a pair of shears to do the snipping to their personal specifications. There is no justification for that sort of pricing other than it exploited one of the worst marketing tactics in the fashion industry. Balmain’s jeans and t-shirts reeked of the most grotesque prestige pricing.”

    I think Givhan is wrong and obviously too old to understand the appeal of Balmain, which Decarnin has openly said is for young women. It is a bit harsh, subjective, and inaccurate to say the industry is better off without the Decarnin for Balmain aesthetic, especially considering its role in helping to revive the classically evening wear-focused house. Not only is Givhan largely undermining Decarnin's talent as a designer but her comments make her sound like a bit of a hater. Thoughts?

    images courtesy of

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    Kate Spade is preparing for the upcoming launch of Kate Spade Saturday, a lower-priced brand based on the Spade brand, with a Kate Spade Saturday digital pop up shop on this week. But don't forget ... legal drama is pending between the two similarly named brands. Late last year, Saturdays Surf, a NYC-based retailer that launched in 2009, got wind of Spade's new brand. Saturdays Surf's legal team contacted Kate Spade, demanding that the company refrain from launching Kate Spade Saturday. This was followed by an array of trademark infringement comments posted on social media sites by Saturdays Surf NYC associates and fans. To this, Spade filed a complaint in a NY court, asking the court to hold that its new company doesn’t infringe the trademark of Saturdays Surf. No updates on the status of the suit, but we will keep you informed.  In the meantime, tell us: do you think Kate Spade is trying to tap into the established appeal of Saturdays Surf with the name of its new brand? 

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  • 02/19/13--12:03: London Fashion Week: Day II
  • The second day of London Fashion Week was as stellar as the first, if not more so. Inspired by Spain's Golden Age, designer's Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos showed strong patterns and embroidery in their Fall 2013 collection. A newly PPR-funded Christopher Kane showed sixty-one looks, which consisted of camouflage prints, brain motifs, strong outerwear, kilts, feathers, velvet, and lace for Fall. Young talent, J.W. Anderson's Fall collection was a bit of a change in direction from last season. He showed elongated silhouettes, contrasting materials (think: latex-like skirts paired with fur tops) and thigh-bearing slits. Tom Ford showed a normal fashion show, filled with people other than his high profile friends, press, and show-goers were allowed to take cell phone pics. More below ...


    J.W. Anderson

    Christopher Kane

    Christopher Kane


    Peter Pilotto

    Tom Ford

    images courtesy of

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    Awarded earlier this month by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO): a design patent to Marc Jacobs for the "ornamental design for the container for a fragrance." The NYC-based design company applied to patent portions of Jacobs' Bang bottle in late 2010, the year the men's fragrance made its debut. (See the drawing after the break). Other design patents awarded recently: one for Jimmy Choo's Zen suede sandal (that's one more patent in Jimmy Choo's arsenal - the footwear company patents A LOT of designs) and one for Hermes' Etribelt bag, which was introduced as part of the house's Spring 2012 collection. With the turn-around time for patents becoming a bit more speedy than in the past, combined with the limited protection that copyright law provides for many designs, it appears that patent law is becoming an increasingly utilized means for designers to protect their works. See all of the drawings below ...   

    Marc Jacobs' BANG (left) & the USPTO drawing (right)

    Hermes' Etribelt bag (left) & the USPTO drawing (right)

    Jimmy Choo's Sen bootie (left) & the USPTO drawing (right)

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    The Fashion Law Exclusive - Another former intern has come forward alleging federal and state labor law violations, and this time the target is Elite Model Management. Former unpaid intern, 22-year old, Dajia Davenport, filed a labor and wage-related lawsuit last week in the Southern District of New York court. On Friday, Davenport filed a $50 million class action suit in a New York federal court alleging that Elite violated New York state Labor Law and the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying their interns. NYC-based Davenport alleges in her complaint that "penny pinching" Elite forces its interns to work more than 40 hours a week, including weekends, all while "deliberately misclassifying its interns as exempt from wage requirements."

    According to Davenport, she has also interned for Vogue (as an accessories intern for four months in 2010), Atlantic Records (where she was a marketing intern for over a year), and Thomas Fiason Agency (where she currently serves as an assistant wardrobe stylist). These companies were not named in Davenport's lawsuit. If this suit sounds familiar, that's because it comes on the heels of two major intern class actions, one against Fox Entertainment Group and the other against Hearst Corporation. Both suits are still pending in NYC courts.

    According to Davenport, she was a New Faces Development Intern at Elite from July to September 2010, and she claims her duties (which seem pretty standard) included ... "Assisting Bookers with scouting new talent at open calls; Assisting with product management and development including data entry, scheduling and image maintenance; Providing administrative support for Marketing/Booking/Scouting Departments; Issued follow-up for bookings and referrals, thank you letters, phone calls, and client feedback; Initiated new contacts and cultivated business relationships; Answered phone calls, greeted clients, and scheduled appointments; Assisted with purchasing of processed client orders; Assisting all Agents and Bookers; Performing general office duties: processing shipments, ordering promo product & office supplies."

    Last but not least, Davenport says she has a "passion for fashion" and that "her true calling [is] being part of the fashion industry." Hmmm .... 

    Former Elite inter, Dajia Davenport

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    In an interview last year, Marie Claire magazine commented on Christian Louboutin's famous trademark, saying: "Now you're as much a household name as Band-Aid or Kleenex." While this may be flattering, it is simultaneously problematic for Mr. Louboutin as a trademark holder. In addition to his red sole mark, Louboutin has trademarked his name in connection with shoes. So, with such awareness of his brand, comes the need to police his trademark in order to prevent the genericizing of his mark. Much like he did with his red sole mark, by bringing suit against YSL and Zara, among others, he has the monitor the use of his other trademark: his name. 

    While the danger of genericide occurring with his name is arguably not that great since others largely cannot produce red soled shoes based on his red sole trademark, genericide is real. For instance, a non-fashion example is Band-aid, which is a trademark. However, due to overuse (and likely a lack of action of the part of Johnson & Johnson), we refer to nearly all adhesive bandages as Band-aids. That's genericide. The danger of a trademark becoming a commonplace noun or adjective is that it essentially becomes useless for the trademark holder. 

    So, what can/should Louboutin and other trademark owners do? Police their trademark! A good example of this is Chanel. The French company took action via an ad in WWD in September 2010, asking people to stop using their name to refer to non-Chanel products. The ad was prompted by various writers’ reports of collections exhibited during New York’s fashion week, which used variations on the Chanel moniker to describe other designers’ collections. The ad said, "Although our style is justly famous, a jacket is not ‘a Chanel jacket’ unless it is ours...And even if we are flattered by such tributes to our fame as ‘Chanel-issime, Chanel-ed, Chanels, and Chanel-ized,’ PLEASE DON’T. Our lawyers positively detest them. We take our trademark seriously."

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  • 02/20/13--12:03: London Fashion Week: Day III
  • Before jetting off to Milan Fashion Week, here are some of the final highlights (of many) that happened in London for Fall 2013. Roksanda Ilincic showed quite a bit of pink and green for Fall, in addition to a strong contrast of materials. Her designs are demure and yet, striking. In a collection that bore witchy, nearly gothic, themes, Illincic's Fall show was not to be missed. Simone Rocha also presented a very desirable collection. With silhouettes a bit sleeker than her previous Spring wares, the result is quite wearable, in an understated, sexy way. For Fall, Susanne Ostwald and Ingvar Helgason, the designers behind young, buzz-worthy brand, continued their climb into the spotlight. Ostwald Helgason, showed an interesting and colorful collection that consisted of gold brocade, mix and match prints, geometric colorblocking, and sculptural silhouettes. More below ... 

    Roksanda Ilinsic

    Simone Rocha

    Ostwald Helgason

    Meadham Kirchhoff
    images courtesy of & wwd

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    Saint Laurent has released its latest lookbook, starring models Georgia Hilmer and Lily McMenemy, among others. True to the Hedi Slimane aesthetic, the images are black and white and were shot by Hedi, himself, in Malibu, California. Slimane, who has resided in Los Angeles since leaving Dior Homme in 2007, and runs the YSL house from LA - despite nearly industry-wide criticism. Nay-sayers have already begun attacking the lookbook, claiming Slimane is in the process of running the design house into the ground. What do you think of SLP's lookbook?   

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    Many people (those in the fashion industry and otherwise) wrestle with the complex set of circumstances that support and explain the fast fashion industry, including but not limited to design piracy, unethical labor practices, and environmental harm. Despite the very real problems that are directly related to the design and production of fast fashion, this type of manufacturing (which actually dates back to the industrial revolution) has become a trend, in and of itself, which is difficult for modern day shoppers to shake. While fast fashion and design piracy have become used interchangeably, there is a distinction. Nasty Gal, a fast fashion retailer, simultaneously sells Versace-inspired dresses (fast fashion), as well as exact replicas of Cushnie et Ochs dresses (design piracy).

    To effectively fight design piracy (putting aside for a moment, the labor and environmental concerns), we have to fight fast fashion but only to a certain extent. We are not fighting trends. No one is saying that everyone shouldn't have access to checkerboard printed dresses, regardless of whether the manufacturer is Louis Vuitton or J. Crew. We are fighting the deliberate replication of original designs by fast fashion retailers. In theory, we can likely all agree that stealing another's original design is wrong (even if it is legal in the U.S.).

    However, the issue becomes a bit more complicated when you take the U.S. economy into account and the fact that not everyone has $3,000 to spend on one dress. Thus, fast fashion (and often, design piracy) becomes one of the few options for shoppers. I understand that, and very much support the availability of original designs at all price points. Unfortunately, retailers, such as Nasty Gal, Forever 21, H&M, and Topshop, among others, continue to embrace design piracy and the other negative practices that come hand-in-hand with fast fashion. This type of manufacturing, providing trendy clothing and accessories to the masses, doesn't need to be a bad thing, but as long as we continue to turn a blind eye to the various injustices that are involved in the process, it will continue. 

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    Prep-school dropout and GED success story Scott Disick has been on a quest to make a name for himself as a style icon in recent years, from dressing like an American Psycho extra to his role as Lord Disick. Having never watched any of the Kardashian shows, I was, up until very recently, gloriously unaware of Mr. Disick. However, after seeing photos of him sidling up to fellow Kardashian boyfriend Kanye West at Paris Fashion Week, I couldn’t help but wonder who exactly he was, and why he looked like that if he wasn’t a cartoon. 

    Luckily, a quick Internet browse brought me up to speed on Disick's time-consuming morning rituals and penchant for luxury items, from Patek watches to Tom Ford suits. This is something that would make sense if he, let's say, worked in an office. The Tom Ford suit would be great for that occasion, among many others – including going to meetings, briefing your boss, or meeting clients for lunch. However, as far as I can tell, Scott Disick definitely doesn’t do any of that. The Internet tells me he has some sort of connection with GNC and might work for them – an association that came about after some of the Kardashians began hawking their products. Also, he briefly ran a sushi restaurant. 

    Essentially, Disick is a reality TV star, and he is not just any reality star. He is one that wakes up every morning and plays a very expensive, very entertaining round of dress-up. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Tom Ford suits are only for the office, or that reality stars shouldn’t be allowed to wear real people clothes (we don’t judge here at TFL).

    At the end of the day, what we can be certain of is that Scott Disick is definitely not a figment of our collective imagination or an elaborate piece of performance art. No, that would be way too simple an explanation for what you see here.

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    Here are highlights from a few stories in fashion this week. Get up to date on what happening in the fashion industry with this brief look ...  

    Italian design brand, Tod's is set to expand. Chairman and chief executive officer Diego Della Valle announced that Alessandra Facchinetti will replace Derek Lam as creative director. She'll reportedly focus on women’s accessories collections, as well as expand its ready-to-wear division. 

    NYC-based boutique and recent Target collaborator, Kirna Zabête, is set to open up shop in a much bigger space. For Kirna Zabête's May opening on Broome St. in New York, Balenciaga, Lanvin and Stella McCartney will create exclusive pieces for the brand. Co-owners, Beth Buccini and Sarah Easley, have been in business together for 14 years.

    Thanks to an LVMH investment, French couturier Maxime Simoens will show his first ever ready-to-wear collection in Paris next month. The twenty-eight-year-old has been showing couture since 2006. According to an LVMH press release, the company that owns Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Celine, and other brands, has taken a minority stake in Simoens' brand. 

    The Digital Luxury Group (DLG) released "The World Luxury Index American Fashion," in which it states that Michael Kors is the most-sought-after American fashion brand on the Internet. Turns out, fashion accessories, such as handbags and wallets are what people searching for in conjunction with the Michael Kors name. According to the DLG, its findings are based on a January to June 2012 period. Also on the top 10 list: Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Vera Wang, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, Diane von Furstenberg, Betsey Johnson and Tom Ford.

    In other Michael Kors news, the company is set to hold a secondary offering, since its IPO in December 2011. Kors will sell 3 million of his Michael Kors Holdings Inc shares, which will be included in the total 25 million shares available for the taking. 

    In case you thought the Bergdorf's jewelry theft last year was bad, two men held up the De Beers boutique in Printemps in Paris this week and successfully made it out with between $2.7 million and $4 million in jewelry. 

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