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Loss of Cachet

With so many actresses playing it safe at the Oscars, it was a lean year for the red carpet scavengers seeking knockoff fodder. 

Michael Ruff of Cachet, however, has gone on record with WWD about his top targets.  Naturally, there will be long red dresses -- a trend that will be noted by real designers seeking inspiration and design pirates alike.  The soon-to-be Cachet copies include Heidi Klum's John Galliano, Anne Hathaway's Marchesa (red carpet bait as soon as it came down the runway; it was just a matter of which actress), and Katherine Heigl's Escada:

The company also announced plans to replicate Jessica Alba's aubergine Marchesa (though presumably not in pregnant proportions), as well as Jennifer Garner's Oscar de la Renta and Penelope Cruz's Chanel:

Ruff may be barking up another tree, though, if Harvey Weinstein, the movie mogul and now spouse of Marchesa co-designer Georgina Chapman, hears about his plans.  Last year, when another manufacturer boasted of his intent to copy a Marchesa straight off the red carpet (this one, perhaps?), Weinstein played the good boyfriend and beat up the guy called his extremely famous trial lawyer.  Somehow, the would-be copyist changed his mind.  Now Cachet claims it's going to copy two Marchesas...

The copying is, of course, legal in the U.S. -- at the moment.  Perhaps Harvey's bulldog invoked trade dress protection, since the dress was immediately famous; perhaps he considered the probability of distribution to a foreign jurisdiction where the copying might be actionable; perhaps he simply threatened to dog the copyist's footsteps with various legal challenges for the rest of his natural life.  Whatever the tactics, they're unlikely to be successful -- or even available -- in most cases.

For the moment, then, Cachet is simply cackling over its Academy Awards loot and calculating its prom-season profits.  The beading and other details on some of the gowns are too expensive to copy, Ruff notes, "But with the others, especially the one-shoulder dresses, we will be able to do something more exact."