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From Reality to Runway

Designers find inspiration in some unlikely places.  Thus far during New York Fashion week we've seen warrior women and vagabond heroines; we've gone back to nature and back in time.  But one designer seems to have taken inspiration from fast fashion for teens -- perhaps too literally.

Delia's started in 1994 as the first catalog operation targeted at the high school set and has since branched out into both online and brick-and-mortar retailing.  With dresses starting at USD $29.50, its customers are still babysitting, not running Fortune 500 companies or running for office.  (Side note:  Vote, people!  It's Super Tuesday!)

Abaete, a designer line founded in 2004, also appears aimed at young women -- or at least those who shop at Neiman's, Saks, and Bendel's and, in some cases, appear on stage and screen.  If Abaete seeks to dress relatively affluent trendsetters, however, why does one of its looks sent down the runway on Saturday look suspiciously like one that appeared in the Delia's catalog last year and is still available online for $44.50

Delia's Brigitte dress (left) and Abaete (right)

But Abaete isn't just trolling the mall for knockoff bait.  Other looks are similarly derivative -- the deep violet side-ruffle dress and similar black and white side-ruffle blouses are available this season at Barney's.  From Lanvin.  As for the color-blocked styles, Narciso Rodriguez and Jonathan Saunders clearly got there first, although we won't quibble with mere inspiration.  It's no wonder that the usually effusive Style.com summed up Abaete's fall runway by noting, "Anything to write home about? Perhaps not." 

Sad, really.  Especially since the name of the line is the designer's family name -- and translates roughly to "person of virtue." 

Thanks to amazing Counterfeit Chic reader Lara, whose vast visual memory is a thing of beauty, even when the images she recalls are not!