Diane von Furstenberg and the rest of the CFDA may be lobbying Congress to prevent fashion piracy, but apparently Tom Ford didn't get the memo. On the left is Norma Kamali's Modern Sculpture dress, which she originally designed more than two decades ago. On the right, a strikingly similar dress from Tom Ford's spring 2013 collection. Yes, he's lengthened the hemline a bit, but the frocks are otherwise identical, from the high neck to the color to the idiosyncratic circular sleeves.
What gives, Tom? We're used to high street stores like Zara and Target being the, err, target of copyright infringement suits (see: Proenza Schouler vs. Target, Wendy Brandes vs. Topshop and Anna Sui vs. Forever 21). Now hot on the heels of YSL vs. Christian Louboutin's year-long red-sole legal battle, which settled just this week in YSL's favor (boo!), comes this latest case of designer déjà vu.
Ford's publicist denied requests for a comment ("Mr. Ford is unavailable, having just had a baby boy"). But even new parents shouldn't get a free pass when it comes to fashion plagiarism. Lucky for The Stubbled One, Norma Kamali sees Ford's circular dress do-over as more homage than intellectual property theft.
"I love his dress—and mine, too," Kamali said via email. "Lucky for me that this look feels right in the industry. To me, there are styles that are timeless, and this one has been in my my collection in different incarnations for over 20 years."
Guess imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery.