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August 23 2014

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Is New Balance Really Suing Karl Lagerfeld?

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Karl Lagerfeld is being sued by New Balance over a pair of “confusing” kicks, according to TMZ. The sneaker giant claims that Lagerfeld’s black-and-white leather, suede, and mesh sneaker (complete with “K” block letters) is a blatant copy of a classic New Balance design. (Lagerfeld’s shoe is available for $360 at Net-a-Porter, if you’re interested.) It seems New Balance is being a bit sensitive here. Not only has Lagerfeld designed fashion sneakers for years (most notably for Chanel), but the man has built a career on taking an irreverent approach to luxury fashion. These shoes aren’t a copy—they’re simply an appropriation of a classic, decidedly unglamorous shoe. It’s an homage, not a knockoff. And really, who sues the Kaiser? The debacle brings to mind Jeremy Scott’s debut collection for Moschino, which featured a prominent McDonald’s motif. There was no legal squabble over Scott’s Happy Meal handbags, nor did Nickelodeon and Hershey lawyer-up about his SpongeBob sweaters and candy-wrapper gowns. With that, we rest our case.

Photo: Net-a-Porter.com, NewBalance.com

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