Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kim Kardashian wants you to buy her handbags but she'd rather carry Balenciaga

splash via the daily mail
Sydney-based entrepreneur Bruno Schiavi managed to convince Kim Kardashian to sign a global fashion and accessories deal, so you'd figure he would have taken care of a little detail like what brand handbag she was carrying when she arrived at Sydney Airport yesterday, wouldn't you? But apparently not. Kardashian and sister Khloe are in town specifically to spruik their Kardashian Kollection handbags, an exclusive capsule collection of which has just gone on sale in Australia. In the reality television star's first public appearance since her announcement on Monday that she would be filing for divorce from her husband of 72 days, NBA player Kris Humphries, she waltzed into the waiting media scrum carrying not a Kardashian Kollection, but a black Balenciaga City bag (aka Motorcycle bag). The distressed leather and hand-stitched handle are unmistakable. The bag is one of many Balenciagas from Kardashian's personal collection

Given Kardashian's predilection towards the French luxury brand, so thoughtful of her then to inject what looks to be a little Balenciaga love into the Kardashian Kollection line for her more budget-conscious fans

Here is the new Kardashian Kollection Zip Feature Bag in black, which retails for AUD 59.95:

It bears more than a passing resemblance to Balenciaga's Giant Gold Part Time bag, which sells for USD 1,945:

UPDATE 4/11: The Kardashian Kollection Zip Feature Bag, although still visible from the link, above, appears to have been pulled from the main Kardashian Kollection lineup on A company spokesperson has so far been unable to provide any clarification. 

It wouldn't be the first time that the Kardashians have been accused of borrowing ideas.

In August, New York-based handbag designer Monica Botkier issued a cease-and-desist letter to the US Sears department store, over a Kardashian Kollection for Sears pre-collection bag which Botkier claimed was a copy of her Trigger Clyde style - prompting Sears to remove the handbag from its website

Botkier claims that the buck stops with licensee Schiavi. She told Brand Channel in August:

"Most likely the Kardashians have no idea but should definitely pay closer attention to the products they put their name on. The licensee probably does know and the design department within. Shame on them, it's a small industry. That's why the CFDA [Council of Fashion Designers of America], which I am a member of, is fighting so hard to protect original design and fight piracy. Brands and companies are built on that, piracy is extremely devastating."  

However the Kardashians have been telling the Australian media that they are very "hands-on" in the design process of their products, which are being manufactured by Schiavi's Jupi Corp.

In this interview on the Seven Network's Sunrise breakfast show this morning (UPDATE: which may have so pissed off the Kardashians, they decided to up stumps and leave Australia ahead of schedule), Khloe tells hosts David Koch and Melissa Doyle (6.38):
"We’re not people who just lend our name to someone and say 'Oh do what you want. We just want handbags, use our name'. These are our designs. We design everything from the shapes to the fabrics to the zipper pulls to how the label stitching is on the inside. We’re very controlling. But that’s the blessing of working with each other".

With Kim adding (7.38):

"We're extremely involved in every last process" 

Frockwriter has sought comment from Schiavi and the Kardashians, with so far no response.

The issue of copying appears to be front-of-mind for Kim Kardashian who, one month prior to the Botkier brouhaha, ironically, commenced legal proceedings in the Los Angeles Superior Court against Gap Inc, alleging damages as the result of ads for Gap's Old Navy brand starring Kardashian lookalike Melissa Molinaro. 

According to the court documents, Kardashian has:
"invested substantial time, energy, finances and entrepreneurial effort in developing her considerable professional and commercial achievements and success, as well as in developing her popularity, fame, and prominence in the public eye”



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