Chanel has been cleared by Paris’ commercial court of the forgery lawsuit brought against them four years ago by one of their small suppliers, World Tricot. World Tricot – who accused Chanel of copying a white crochet patch design – was awarded a mere €400,000 for “breach of contract by Chanel, a result of the fashion house stopping orders for its crocheted and embroidered pieces with the supplier.”
World Tricot founder Carmen Colle claimed that her company came up with the design and presented it to Chanel in 2004, but that Chanel rejected it and then, several months later, Colle claims that she spotted it in a Chanel boutique window in Tokyo.
However, the court also gave Chanel €200,000 for “commercial prejudice for what the fashion house called a smear campaign.”
While Colle was looking for €3.3 million in damages for alleged counterfeiting and €2 million in damages for breach of contract, her remarks after the ruling seem to indicate that she is content with the court’s decision – “It’s a victory for us because the court has recognized that suppliers and artisans are not disposable.”
As for Chanel, they are of course quite content themselves, telling The Wall Street Journal that the court’s decision distinguishes them as the designers from the suppliers, who are just the people who make things for them.
The case is an interesting one because it brings up the issue of who gets credit in the creation of designer collections. It’s easy to applaud the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Marc Jacobs when they churn out stunning designs, but it’s also easy to forget that there are thousands of people working behind these creative directors.