The Votes Are In: Lena Dunham Wins Most Controversial Emmy Dress
Along with the two consecutive award shows this week came two red carpets. Each carpet brought a lot of interesting fashion choices, from Katy Perry’s tribute to Britney Spears to Kim Kardashian’s backwards looking dress, both at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards. The one dress that people could not stop talking about, though, was Lena Dunham’s Giambattista Valli gown worn to the Emmy Awards Monday night. Regardless of whether you loved or hated the dress worn by creator and star of the HBO series Girls, it seemed to bring up an issue of intellectual property.
On Monday night, designer Christian Siriano posted a throwback photo on Instagram of one of the designs from his Spring 2010 collection. The dress he chose to post had a strikingly similar color scheme and tiered tulle skirt to the dress Dunham wore that very night. Hm, coincidence? Probably not. Nice try Christian, but it wasn’t even #ThrowbackThursday.
As much as I hate when bigger designers copy smaller ones’ designs, I don’t think Siriano really has a case here. The only thing the two dresses have in common is the fact that they have tulle skirts. The colors and tiers are far too different for there to be any issue of copyright infringement. The bodices of each dress also give off two completely different aesthetics, as Valli’s offers a menswear-meets-formalwear vibe by matching a collared shirt with a ball gown skirt, while Siriano’s features a simple strapless design.
Even if Siriano did want to get into a legal battle with his fellow designer, there are no laws protecting him. It is perfectly legal to copy a garment’s pattern, which is hardly the issue here anyway. The only way Siriano would have a case is if there was an issue of print-copyrighting and both dresses lack any kind of screen-printing to begin with. Also, Siriano would probably never stand a chance in court against Valli, as the latter is a veteran couture designer and the former is a relatively new designer who got his start through Project Runway and designs for Payless Shoes.
Then again, Siriano definitely wasn’t the only one who thought the dress looked familiar…
— refinery29 (@Refinery29) August 26, 2014
Katherine Fabian (@kafernn) is a recent graduate of Fordham University’s College at Lincoln Center and is currently applying to law schools, freelance writing, and teaching yoga. She hopes to one day practice fashion law and defend the intellectual property rights of designers.
Featured image courtesy of [Lena Dunham via Twitter]