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Le Miz

Isaac Mizrahi is a high-octane combination of entertainer and fashion designer.  He's starred in everything from a documentary film to a comic book to his own TV show, and his creations range from couture gowns to a groundbreaking partnership with Target.  His next challenge is to revive the Liz Claiborne label, and early reports are quite enthusiastic.

Except for one.  Jezebel's TatianaTheAnonymousModel did a double-take upon seeing pictures of Isaac's spring shoes, which strongly resemble Belgian Shoes' classic Midinette style in multiple colors.  Trust a skyscraper-tall model, even an anonymous one, to know her flats.

 Belgian Shoes' Midinettes (left) and Liz Claiborne (right)

Rumors of copying have swirled around Isaac before, from the late great Geoffrey Beene's file of alleged offenders to recent off-the-record whispers into the ears of your humble blogger.  These pics, however, are presented as a smoking gun.  The Midinettes currently available on the Belgian Shoes website even have a dark contrasting sole like Isaac's rather than one in the same color as the upper part of the shoe.

From a legal perspective, if Belgian Shoes claims that the Midinettes have over the years acquired sufficient distinctiveness that  the style itself reminds consumers of the company, then it could bring a trade dress claim against Liz Claiborne. Of course, Liz would no doubt argue that the style is a classic one and that Isaac's tweaks (is that a pointier toe, perhaps? a lower vamp? a more compact bow?) distinguish his team's work.  In fact, the style reminds me of a certain pair of my grandfather's brown bedroom slippers -- and he passed away decades ago. 

Still, why risk unnecessary legal fees -- or disapproving editorial coverage -- in this market?