L'Ultima Cena della Moda
With the perhaps perverse idea of bringing together couture originals and copyists, Counterfeit Chic requests the honor of the following presences:
Coco Chanel, the site's PS/AA and a woman with a great deal to say on the subject of copying, most of it favorable. But what would Mademoiselle think of
Karl Lagerfeld, who has risen to fame and been hailed as a genius while copying her work for the house of Chanel? Would she be flattered, or treat him like a dull schoolboy? Of course, the Kaiser doesn't only copy Coco. He joins
Fida Naamneh, an Israeli Arab designer who deliberately embroidered three of the 99 names of Allah onto the low-cut dress that was her final project in college. (Hat tip to Blingdom of God.) Her choice of decoration was intentional, whereas Karl's use of Qur'anic verses on a bustier was apparently accidental. Appropriation of cultural property can be volatile, however; both designers aroused the ire of followers of
The Prophet Mohammed. While his writing long predated copyright claims, he might have a few things to say about its use on women's clothing. In fact, we'd like to ask him a few questions about his actual words and their subsequent influence on women's dress in general. (No group pictures, we promise.)
Having crossed into the surreal, we'd enjoy the guidance of artist Salvador Dali, a frequent collaborator in the 1930s couture creations of
Elsa Schiaparelli. Her famous lobster dress and shoe hat were the result of such art-into-fashion experiments, which eschewed the minimalism of her archrival Coco Chanel. Indeed, Schiap's response to Chanel's praise of copying (and her empire of faux bijoux) is apparent in the belief that "fashion is born by small facts, trends, or even politics, never by trying to make little pleats and furbelows, by trinkets, by clothes easy to copy, or by the shortening or lengthening of a skirt."
Let the games begin! Dinner is served. And if the presence of the prophet doesn't promote at least temporary peace between Schiap (irresistable force) and Coco (immovable object), this may indeed be Fashion's Last Supper.
P.S. Counterfeit Chic was fascinated by the French and Italian legal responses to another Ultimate Dinner Party of sorts (above), presented last year by the French fashion house Girbaud. Presumably this Carnivale will be somewhat less controversial.