Free Fake with Purchase
"You want a fake with that?"
Color cosmetics are showing uncharacteristically strong sales this holiday season -- with a little help from a knockoff handbag, at Lord & Taylor at least. The Bag Chick caught the venerable department store, recently sold to real estate equity investors, advertising what looks suspiciously like a Yves Saint Laurent Downtown bag (left) as a free gift with purchase. Closer inspection proved that not only was the promo bag a knockoff -- note the absence of buckle tabs and the somewhat different proportions and hardware, even more apparent if you head over to the Bag Chick's post at In My Bag for an enlarged view -- but that no actual YSL cosmetic samples were included in the promotion.
This isn't the first time that the Downtown has gone downmarket. And legally speaking, there's typically nothing that YSL can do about it -- unless a copyist has taken not only the design but also the YSL logo without authorization. The Bag Chick's initial response, however, is evidence that the Downtown design alone has sufficient secondary meaning to qualify as protected trade dress, since the mere image evoked YSL in her mind.
Memo to the Gucci Group's lawyers: If you decide to take action against L&T, send the lady a lip gloss -- ideally tucked inside a real lipstick red Downtown bag. She's earned it!