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If watching four straight hours of "Shark Tank" every weeknight (and, obviously, working in fashion) has taught me anything, it's that clothing and accessories are nearly impossible to patent — no matter how unique the style may be. Now, Dolce & Gabbana may be learning that the hard way.
On Thursday, designer Stefano Gabbana posted an Instagram comparing a shoe from Dolce & Gabbana's ancient Sicily-themed spring 2014 collection with a shoe from Chanel's ancient Greece-themed cruise 2018 collection, both of which featured heels seemingly modeled after Ionic columns. Though the sandals have many visible differences — like the color, material, and number of the straps (Dolce's have a quarter strap; Chanel's criss-cross up the leg) — there's no denying their similarities.
"Interessante...," Gabbana captioned the juxtaposed images, followed by some adorable red heart emojis and the all-important disclaimer, "its [sic] just a repost." (The original Insta was posted by @whodiditfirst, an apparently new account that pits similar fashions against each other.) Of course, it's not uncommon for fashion houses to (presumably) accidentally borrow from each other's back catalogs on occasion. But it's a lot more rare for a major designer to start beef with another in such a public manner.
That said, Dolce & Gabbana is no stranger to being on the other end of the accusation game. In 2015, Colombian artist Adriana Duque filed a lawsuit against the brand, claiming that its pricy jewel-encrusted headphones were directly inspired by a series of photographs she had taken in 2011. And back in 2009, D&G really got into it with Giorgio Armani after the senior designer accused the Italian duo of plagiarizing a pair of his quilted pants.
As for whether Dolce & Gabbana will actually proceed with any action — legal or otherwise — against Chanel has yet to be seen. But one thing we know for sure? The shade is real, and Stefano Gabbana is not above using it.
Update May 5, 5:00 p.m.: A Chanel spokesperson provided the following comment to Fashionista, effectively denying that the brand copied Dolce & Gabbana:
"Although these two shoe models share a common feature - the column heel - the design and aesthetics of the column, in addition to the design of the shoe as a whole, are significantly different. This indicates that Greece nourishes and will continue to inspire artists, creative designers, writers and philosophers throughout the world, thanks to its exceptional culture."