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Where the Buffalo Roam

Imagine noble herds of bison roaming the North American plains.  Now picture an Italian craftsman dreaming of all that leather on the hoof.  The result is Il Bisonte, an artisanal leather workshop established in Florence in 1970 by Wanny DiFilippo and his wife, Nadia.

Among Il Bisonte's classic styles is the E56, a canvas and leather shoulder bag that converts to a backpack (left).  Fans have nicknamed it the "candy bag," a reference to its gathered ends. 

Il Bisonte (left) and Versace

Now fast forward to Spring 2008, when a difficult-to-deceive design student from Vancouver, Justin Ng, noticed a strikingly similar bag in the Versace runway collection (right) -- and suspected the well-known brand of trying to buffalo its customers. 

As Justin observed, the front pockets aren't identical.  But then, neither are Christian Louboutin's trademarked red soles and the dark orange versions that caused so much confusion when they appeared in Versace's spring ad campaign.

Perhaps the Versace accessories department needs to engage in a bit less hunting and gathering and a little more creating?