After we posted a photo of Willow Smith decked out for the American Music Awards asking readers to name the strange buckled arm sheath she was wearing, a few commenters noted that the piece–one reader told us it was most like a saber fencing plastron so we’ll go with that (though crumper and horseshoe were runners up)–was a knock off of a piece by Mother of London. A pretty flagrant knock off, as it turns out. And fashion folks are real angry about it. We were pointed to a thread on Facebook lead off by photographer “Zemotion” who wrote “I’m so raging right now…Mildred’s been around for EVER way before I started photography and this is one of her most signature designs. It’s just downright disgusting to see this happening to such an amazing designer. And NO her permission was NOT asked for and it is NOT flattering.”
Mildred is Mildred Von Hildegard, the designer behind Mother of London. When asked by site Haute Macabre for comment, she said, “I’m disappointed and saddened that this will negatively impact my business. My original design is now recognized in the mass media as someone else’s work, and it’s very hurtful on both a personal and professional levels. I hope this can be resolved, and I wish nothing but the best to Willow.”
Mariel Haenn, who styles Rihanna and sometimes Willow, has been taking the heat for the flap, though she’s since taken to twitter to deny her involvement. “Just an fyi, we only dressed Rihanna last nite. I don’t like when people try to credit me for work that’s not mine #justsayin,” she tweeted. She also followed up with an email to Coilhouse mag saying, “To be honest I have no idea who ‘styled’ her or the designer. Wish I did. I don’t ask my clients who they used when I’m not available.”
So the culprit is still at large. If you know anything about who made Willow’s harness or who styled her for the AMAs, let us know at email@example.com. Or do you think the designer who knocked off Mother of London is a culprit at all?