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Inimitable Intricacy

Last month, Counterfeit Chic noted that -- in the absence of U.S. legal protections -- some designers manage to evade mass copyists by creating looks that are too difficult or too expensive to imitate. 

Now Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan at the Wall Street Journal reports that the technique has become a trend, with this season's creative tailoring and luxurious fabrics posing a challenge to would-be knockoff artists.  Deliberate diversion or bonus by-product?  Apparently there's stylish strategy at work:

Graeme Black, who recently stepped down as chief designer of womenswear at Ferragamo to focus on an eponymous line, says part of his goal in creating cocoon-shaped coats and jackets with draped collars and puffy sleeves for both labels was to set them apart from mass-market styles.

How do these differences translate to actual garments?  The WSJ asked an expert, who noted that while this season's celebrated leg-o'-mutton sleeve at Lanvin (left) relies on quality fabric and careful stitching to maintain volume and symmetry, the loosely woven fabric and pintucks on a similarly shaped sleeve from H&M (right) result in a limp look. 

In other words, sometimes you get what you pay for.

P.S.  Thanks to Chris Hoofnagle -- who has a very long memory for scholarly interests -- for the tip!