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Copying Cavalli

How does Italian designer Roberto Cavalli feel about being copied?

On a recent episode of the Style Network's Running in Heels, one of the featured interns gets a chance to find out, courtesy of questions from her editors at Marie Claire.  

Cavalli's dislike of being copied by "big designers" follows a typical pattern of response.  As in all creative media, from fiction to architecture, some artists are "inspired" by others.  When this search for inspiration crosses a certain line, however, noses get out of joint and the reputation of the copyist suffers -- whether or not the law in a particular jurisdiction has any say in the matter.  Watch out for copying that is (1) too literal, (2) too close in time to the original, or (3) in too similar a market niche. 

Hence Cavalli's reaction to alleged copying by other famous fashion designers.  The more-is-more master of mixed jungle patterns and baroque jewelry can fend off lesser lights (to some extent) via the power of his label, but peer-on-peer pilfering is a more direct threat.  Especially since Roberto is in the process of expanding his more accessible Just Cavalli line. 

So, why wouldn't Cavalli name names?  Or at least whisper in the ears of the lovely ladies from the magazine with the long-established "Splurge or Steal" feature?  After all, social censure only works when the culprits are identified.

Cavalli's uncharacteristic coyness may have resulted from the fact that all of the parties in the room -- with the possible exception of the intern -- could already guess the prime suspects.  And presumably the more fashion-savvy viewers at home immediately started guessing.  At times, inuendo can be far more powerful than direct accusation.  

In other words, why start an on-camera cat fight over leopard print when you can achieve the same effect with a catty suggestion?