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Once Bitten, Twice Shy

The Senate version of the Design Piracy Prohibition Act, S1957, has only just been introduced, but it's already having a deterrent effect.

Anna Corinna USD $384-480, Bitten $9.95

After the New York Times illustrated Eric Wilson's article on the bill with an original Anna Corinna "City Bag" (left) next to a near-identical but much cheaper "City" bag by Sarah Jessica Parker's Bitten line for Steve & Barry's, the guilty retailer hastened to apologize.  WWD quoted from its statement:

A prototype of a bag Sarah Jessica Parker and the Bitten design team never approved for production was inadvertently produced by Steve & Barry's.  When the error was discovered, production of the bag was immediately stopped.  It was never put on sale at Steve & Barry's stores, and images of it were eliminated from all marketing materials.  This unfortunate incident has resulted in Steve & Barry's examining its entire production process and making appropriate changes to help ensure this type of error doesn't happen in the future.

Is Steve & Barry's sincere, or is SJP just trying to avoid the bad publicity garnered by other celebrity copyists?  Time will tell.

For the moment, however, the blogosphere is watching.  The suspicious similarity between the bags was originally noted on Fops and Dandies (after a picture of the Bitten version appeared on NYT fashion critic Cathy Horyn's blog)  then republished by Fashionista before being picked up by the actual print edition of the Times.  Nice catch!