Ivanka Trump Faces Courtroom Showdown Over $785 Sandals

Edgardo  Osorio’ s  prized shoes sit on a glass shelf within his Madison Avenue boutique  below zebra-striped arches and golden chandeliers. The shoes  have skinny high heels, frills, and a tassel dangling through a  dainty ankle strap that will weaves  up the leg. These days, they’ re available in all kinds of colors and materials, however signature suede style comes in the bold lipstick red.

Osorio, the co-founder and innovative director of fashion label  Aquazzura, calls the sandal  one of their most iconic creations. Coveted simply by celebrities and fashion bloggers as well, these $785 suede numbers grew to become a true “ It” shoe  given that gaining traction in 2015. They will helped catapult the designer great label to international prominence. When he discovered that the clothing brand  run by the daughter of now-President Donald Trump was making a comparable item for only $65, this individual called in the lawyers.

Fed up with alleged duplicate shoe styles, Aquazzura  fired off  multiple legal cases over his Wild Thing shoe. Arguably similar styles hit shop shelves under labels including  Mollini, Missguided, and Jessica Buurman. Aquazzura didn’ t challenge the smaller manufacturers, but instead went after what this individual claimed to be the larger copycats: Sam Madden, Marc Fisher, and  Ivanka  Trump.

“ One of the most disturbing things within the fashion industry is when somebody blatantly steals your copyright styles and doesn’ t care, ” his  label posted upon its Instagram accounts in March 2016. “ You need to know better. Shame on you  @ivankatrump! Imitation is NOT the most sincere type of flattery. ”   Aquazzura delivered a cease-and-desist letter to Trump about the shoe, asking her corporation to stop selling its sandal.  

“ Based on Aquazzura’ s prior dealings with your client’ s company, and on the obvious plus purposeful copying of our client’ h shoe, we anticipate that you will problem Aquazzura’ s rights in its style, maintaining  that the designs lack supplementary meaning, and that your client can be therefore free to knock them away from with impunity, ” the notice said, citing some of the elements of violation. To avoid a court battle, Aquazzura demanded Trump’ s company get rid of all pictures of the sandal under consideration from its website and social media, quit advertising the shoe, destroy  most existing pairs, disclose its producer, hand over profits from sales from the offending shoe, and “ concur in writing under oath not to provide for sale any knock-off” again.   Aquazzura gave Trump a week in order to comply,   or else face lawful action.  

Trump did not comply, so two months afterwards, Aquazzura sued her along with Marc Fisher.   In a complaint submitted in June 2016 in New york federal court, the company  charged Trump of infringement, unfair competitors, and deceptive trade practices. “ Seeking the same success Aquazzurra skilled but without having to put in the hard innovative work, defendants resorted to banging off plaintiff’ s popular styles, ” the complaint stated. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. Darren Saunders, attorney for the defendants, stated Wednesday that the two sides have been in settlement talks. Lawyers for  Aquazzura  declined to comment.

Intellectual property spats are common within the fashion industry, but most quarrels are usually resolved before parties get close to a  courtroom. Such lawsuits are usually immensely expensive ,   complex and can pull on  for years . When a mega-company goes after a mom-and-pop, matters are usually settled with a nasty letter. Nevertheless two equally matched companies with deep pouches and a history of bad blood end up on opposite sides, the lawyers fees can add up, and a demo just might happen.

“ I’ ve seen people proceed all the way when they can’ t actually afford it— to teach someone the lesson, ” said trademark lawyer  Sonia Lakhany.

Source: Court filings.

Colombia-born Osorio  great company  arrived on the Italian footwear scene in 2011 when he has been just 25, after stints with storied fashion houses Roberto Cavalli and  Ferragamo. Based in Florence, their brand  broke out of  the pack of upstart labels using a few hot styles: cutout booties, pointy lace-up flats, and those new sandals. Osorio’ s shoes are now offered by more than 300 retailers all over the world. Aquazzura’ s  own flagships  have been in big cities, including the global style centers of London, Paris, plus New York.

Five many years isn’ t a long time in the attractive shoe department, but star energy helped Aquazzura  quickly convince buyers to don its pricey sets. Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Watson, plus Rihanna have all been spotted within Osorio’ s kicks, while Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid  sported  Aquazzura  booties. The label also  partnered with model Poppy Delevingne  to create a celebrity-infused capsule collection,   a one-off set of designer clothes. It did the same with Nyc socialite Olivia Palermo.

Predictably, the glossies and style blogs fawned over the chic  pumps, sandals, and boots. “ We’ ve never met a pair of Aquazzura  shoes we didn’ t are interested, ” a fashion editor had written.     gushed over the  fringe sandals, declaring them  “ fiercely fashion forward. ” even lauded an Aquazzura  wallpaper selection as “ the most beautiful thing you’ ll see this spring. ”

Aquazzura’ s celeb following meshed with Osorio’ s  over-the-top extravagance. Last year, he made a decision to hold his 30th  birthday party within Florence’ s Palazzo Corsini, the two-day bash complete with a surrealist golf ball. Guests arrived in full costume in order to dine under towering gold candelabras. Osorio sported a massive headpiece along with two curved angel wings directed skyward, like a mythical deity switched haute couture. In the world of high style, he had arrived.

Ivanka Trump
Photographer: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

There won’ t be any kind of ritziness if Aquazzura’ s  battle with Trump ends up at  a lower New york courthouse. U. S. District Assess Katherine Forrest set trial for  next March, triggering a manufacturing line of legal filings, evidence needs, and depositions of witnesses through both sides in preparation for day in court. Come following spring, if a settlement hasn’ to been reached,   the test may begin exactly two years after Aquazzura’ s angry Instagram post.

Ivanka Trump wants  absolutely nothing to do with the case, let alone a trial. The girl tried to duck a deposition simply by arguing she shouldn' t have to testify because she isn’ to involved in the design or sale of the girl company’ s  allegedly offending footwear.

“ Trump had not been aware of the Aquazzura  style ‘ Wild Thing’ shoe at the time the lady signed off on the season collection that contained the Ivanka  Trump style ‘ Hettie’ shoe, ” Saunders, her lawyer, argued within a letter to the judge. “ The responsibility of a deposition of Ms. Trump would far outweigh  any most likely benefit to Aquazzura. ”   Saunders added that her part as a “ high ranking govt official” should preclude her through having to submit to a deposition. (Trump was appointed to be an associate to her father in the White House).

On June twenty three, Forrest rejected Trump’ s debate. “ She is alleged to have individual involvement in the events at concern in this lawsuit, ” the determine ruled. “ She cannot prevent a deposition in this matter. ”

Ivanka Trump’ s i9000 fashion brand has had a rugged history when it comes to copycat allegations. Just one year after she  began offering footwear, her company was known as out by New York designer tag Derek Lam for allegedly replicating a sandal style. A cease-and-desist letter was sent, and while Trump’ s representatives denied the accusations,   her brand pulled moccasins from online shops and store racks. Then in 2012, California clothing brand name Mystique sued Trump’ s brand holding company over a different set of sandals. She rejected the statements. Seven months later, the events reached a settlement. In 2016, the particular Trump label was the target associated with two patent infringement lawsuits, that have been both dismissed.

In terms of Aquazzura’ s  Wild Thing shoe, that case largely comes down to some thing called trade dress. Aquazzura is attempting to show that its style is really distinct and well-known that customers equate the design with the label. “ Any time you have trade dress involved with fashion, you’ re saying ‘ We’ re the Louboutin red’ or ‘ We’ re the particular Burberry flat, ’ ” stated Lakhany, the trademark attorney. “ They’ re saying ‘ it’ s so connected to our brand name, this is who we are. ’ ”

In this case, the key style component is the red fringe. Lakhany  expressed doubt as to whether which was enough to hang a lawsuit on:   “ I don’ t understand if the red fringe design holds up to Louboutin red and Burberry scarf plaid. ”

Along with Wild Thing, the Aquazzura problem stated that Trump’ s business had copied a pointy-toed dark pump, the Forever Marilyn footwear, and a strappy low-heeled sandal, the particular Belgravia. At the same time last year, Aquazzura  sued Steve Madden for infringement upon three different shoe designs. (Madden disputed the allegations. That  battle settled “ in principle” within April according to court records, but the determine subsequently reopened the matter a month later on at Aquazzura’ s request. (Spokespeople for Madden and lawyers designed for Aquazzura declined to comment. ) 

Meanwhile, life continues on for Trump and Osorio since trial nears. Her  sandals keep on being sold on Amazon. com and  Bluefly. com, and  Aquazzura  is starting new stores, including a shop in Costa Mesa, Calif. Osorio  has remained quiet about their battle with the first daughter since the fable began. That is, until April whenever he took the stage in a conference in Muscat, Oman. Appearing  at a swanky resort and hot tub, Osorio  and the moderator chatted about their rising popularity and  glitzy shops. In an aside, he addressed the particular Trump spat with both a underhanded dig and  a humble brag.

“ The amusing thing is that, whether it’ s i9000 her or anyone else, when it’ s good, everyone wants to duplicate it and make money off this, ” he said.

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