The whole matter of the resurgence of East West Musical Company jackets has grown legs. Since I wrote my entry various sources are decrying Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière for his recent rendition of an East West jacket. An article from 2002 written by Cathy Horyn, fashion editor of the New York Times has also seen fresh eyes as Ghesquière has done this sort of thing before (thanks to Eva and Becky for the links). There’s also the matter of Urban Outfitters who also copied (scroll down) the East West jacket under their private label Pins and Needles. Their version of the jacket priced at >$300 has sold out. All versions of the EW parrot jacket I saw were pretty cool. Original EWMC jackets are here and here. People also left links to more in comments.
Commentary from the public is mixed. Some think Ghesquière committed a fashion crime deserving multi course punishment such as being guillotined, then drawn and quartered, then burnt at the stake after which he should be hung by his thumbs while being subjected to repeated encores of Achy Breaky Heart. Obviously, his greater crime is disappointing the public, not a good move for a couture house. Several people wrote expecting me to wax eloquent on the depth of his trangressions but I find it difficult to rouse anything approaching outrage. The EW jacket is nearly forty years old. No doubt it is unbecoming of a haute couture fashion house to copy another designer -dead or alive- but this is hardly the first time. Maybe that is what should be the bigger story. His crime is actually poor brand management (I say this cynically). Other well known designers, for all their lamentations of being copied and meritous of Congressional protection, are no less guilty of copying so the only difference seems to be who is exposed in the fashion press. In sum, the bad guy is someone who doesn’t have a good PR machine for damage control. The mainstream fashion press has yet to write of Diane Von Furstenberg’s plagiarism of Mercy and I doubt they ever will. Go figure.