FLS Digest for Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Marketing “Real” Bodies” (The New Yorker)

Defining a “beautiful” woman or a “real” woman is a contentious puzzle, and always has been. Some recent marketing that has aimed for authenticity has eventually faced a backlash. Last year, Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign showed women—pretty women, with neatly applied makeup—describing themselves to a forensic artist, then viewing his sketch based on their explanation side by side with another sketch created from a stranger’s description of their looks. Inevitably, the second drawing was more attractive, and some of the women were moved to tears by the comparison. The Dove video has now been viewed sixty-two million times on YouTube.

Much of the reaction to the ad was positive, but critics pointed out that the experiment was rigged; the artist knew its goal, so he was predisposed to make the first sketch less appealing than the second. Further, as David Zweig pointed out at Slate, Dove’s representation of “real” women was unattainable for most people. “I kept picturing all of the women I see on the subway, at highway rest stops, in suburban malls,” with their botched dye jobs and acne scars, he wrote. “In a way this ad campaign is even worse for them than conventional ads because it has the pretense of representing them, and yet they still must notice they fall far short of ‘real’ (real being defined in this context as average).”

Louboutin Loses Trademark To Red Sole In Three Countries” (Wigs and Gown)

Exciting news folks – a Belgian court has invalidated Christian Louboutin’s registered trademark on red-soled shoes in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands! Isn’t that lawsuit dead and burried? Nope, only in the US. Here in Europe, the battle over red soles rages on! The court stated that the red sole can’t be trademarked because it gives substantial value to Louboutin’s shoes. Louboutin had brought the lawsuit against a Dutch retailer, Van Dalen Footwear B.V, over the sale of red soled shoes which Louboutin claimed infringed its trademark.

Justice Swalens held that the trademark was invalid and must be declared void owing to a provision in law that excludes registering trademarks of any shapes that give substantial value to a product. She claimed that the trademark held by Louboutin was a shape mark and not a colour mark! She also stated that  Louboutin’s trademark lacked a ‘distinctive character’ because red-soled shoes are common within the shoe industry (even though they weren’t before Louboutin made them so…presumably a point Louboutin’s legal team are working into their appeal right now.)

EU to Drop Punitive Tax on U.S. Jeans” (WWD)

The European Union will drop a 26 percent retaliatory tax on women’s jeans made in the U.S. to 0.35 percent on May 1.

This move, announced Wednesday by Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, a Washington-based law firm specializing in Customs and international trade, and confirmed by the European Union, will lower the EU duty rate on such jeans to 12.35 percent a year after it saw a significant increase in an ongoing trade dispute.

The duty rate hike on jeans was part of a continuation of sanctions authorized by the World Trade Organization in retaliation for U.S. noncompliance with a WTO ruling against the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000. Commonly referred to as the Byrd Amendment, this law allowed the U.S. to distribute antidumping and countervailing duties collected on foreign-made goods to affected domestic industries. The law was found to violate WTO rules and subsequently repealed, but distributions were allowed to continue for cases initiated prior to the repeal.

Italian post-war fashion gets museum outing in London” (Reuters)

Rarely seen Bulgari jewellery once owned by actress Elizabeth Taylor and suits, dresses, gowns and accessories by top names in post-war Italian fashion will be on display at an exhibition opening this week at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.

“The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014″, which opens on Friday, “examines Italy’s rich and influential contribution to fashion from the end of the Second World War to the present”, the V&A said in a press release.

The exhibition includes some 120 ensembles and accessories by fashion houses including Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Ginafranco Ferre, Gucci, Missoni, Prada, Pucci and Versace, plus couture from Giambattista Valli, ready-to-wear from Fausto Publisi and work from Valentino’s designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli.

Costume Designers Are Dictating What Americans Wear” (Business Insider)

Brands are seeing costume designers as the new go-to option for capsule collections, limited edition items, and product curation. Whether the collaboration is with the individual designer or with the show or film producers, the brand benefits from the huge fan following, which can be considerable — ABC Family’s hit Pretty Little Liars has more than 15 Tumblr pages dedicated to the fashion by costume designer Mandi Line.

For the designer, the partnerships represent a new revenue stream and increased exposure for their work.

Trish Summerville, lead costume designer of The Hunger Games, has become a designer in her own right with two capsule collections under her belt, an edgy collection for Net-a-Porter labeled Capital Couture and a Dragon Tattoo collection with H&M inspired by her work on the movie of the same name.