So Jeremy Scott is taking flak for supposedly plagiarizing a faux Chanel iPhone case that resembles a pack of cigarettes. Tbh, I think Jeremy Scott should be taking flak for tricking people into taking out a second mortgage in order to look like Krusty the fucking clown, but that’s just me.
Following Moschino’s Barbie and McDonalds cases, the cigarette pack is hardly surprising. And with its faux Surgeons General warning tagline, ‘Fashion Kills’, it’ll definitely lure the caustically ironic and the Ms. Me Toos in equal numbers. But it does pose an interesting question with regards to authenticity in fashion.
No one is seriously going to believe that Lagerfeld designed a powder pink plastic cigarette pack. So is it a counterfeit? An homage? A nod to Warhol’s theories of iconographic reproduction? A statement on the nature of the fashion industry?
KTZ’s carbon copy of a Nunavit shaman’s holy garment justifiably infuriated. But the high street fast-fashion behemoths rose to prominence by whole-heartedly ripping off the runway. So where do we draw that line? How do we continue to exist in that demilitarized zone between art and commerce?
Those knowing streetwear takes on high-fashion brands that were all the rage a couple of years ago left me cold. Well, Comme Des Fuckdown was funny for a second, but the rest? Ugh. Because their intent was nakedly obvious. It wasn’t playfulness, it was exploitation. And, intuitively, the difference resonates.
Which is why they were nowhere near as satisfying as something like Chloe Wise’s ‘Bagel No. 5’ Chanel-branded bagel sculpture-cum-purse. Or that ‘I fucked Anna Wintour’ shirt that Just Another Rich Kid got sued over waaaay back when.
Or, hell, when Marc Jacobs dropped that billion dollar troll on Kidult. After the French graffiti artist spray-painted the word Art across the entirety of Marc Jacobs’ SOHO boutique, the designer began cryptically referring to an ‘Art by Art Jacobs’ collection. And then sold a pink cotton t-shirt with a photo of the graffiti on it. For $686. And it was priceless.
But Moschino’s take on post-modern pop art reappropriation rings false. Particularly in asking $95 for something that should cost $10. Luxury products used to be about inimitable quality. An Hermès bag may cost as much as a Honda Civic, but it’ll last 10 times longer.
These days, our artistic literacy filters are just too strong for something so feckless. We’re instinctively polyphonic. And we prize authenticity above all.