Cat-Fight at Milan Fashion Week

Jan 20, 2009 8:20am

By PHOEBE NATANSON, Producer, ABC News Rome If you have been distracted by wars, real battles and angry exchanges around the world, you can be excused for having missed the cat-fight going on in the wings of the Milan fashion shows. Speaking to reporters last week before the presentation of the Fall-Winter 2009-2010 collections, Giorgio Armani, the Grand Emperor of Milanese Fashion, accused the young, Sicilian fashion-designing duo Dolce and Gabbana of copying a pair of quilted men’s pants from his collection last year. "Today they copy, later they will learn," he prophesized. That was it! The gloves were off. ”We certainly still have much to learn, but definitely not from him,” retorted Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana while denying accusations in a statement released to the press yesterday. "The Armani style has never been a stylistic source of inspiration for us and we have not seen any of his fashion shows for years," they specified. ”We have made our fortune through a Dolce & Gabbana style, with roots in Sicily and its sartorial and other traditions and which is recognized the world over,” they added tersely. And with one last flurry, they rounded off the fight with a snub: "As Picasso used to say, copying from others is inevitable, copying from oneself leads to sterility." Hiss. Somber fashionistas who assisted a rather lack-luster fashion week and who know the industry faces a future of shrinking fashion sales due to the global economic crisis looked on aghast. Could these two fashion icons be fighting over a pair of pants?! Aren’t there more important things to fight over, they pondered, and what’s truly original in fashion anyway? Some Italian fashion and gossip writers even went as far as to conjecture that maybe there was more to this pant spat. Could it perhaps have something to do with the Beckhams’ recent descent on Milan? Soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria, the golden celebrity couple, recently took Milan by storm when he came to take up his new post as a three-month loan on the AC Milan football team. Could it be that Armani’s just irritated by the couple’s frequent forays to the D&G boutiques in Milan over the last few months? After all, the Beckhams are his chosen faces — and bodies — to promote Emporio Armani’s new underwear ad campaign. Left reeling from giant billboards showing the scantily clad David Beckham, we will soon see his wife debut in the new Armani underwear campaign. Thankfully Donatella Versace, another fashion icon who is never far from the spotlight, piped up with her thoughts: "To be copied is an honor!" she exclaimed. Awaiting the next designer’s salvos, La Repubblica’s fashion reporter, Natalia Aspesi, commented on the tiff on the front page of the paper today: "In the tired days of the men’s fashion shows in Milan, with little attention from the foreign press and few buyers, a politico-creative case is born over a pair of padded trousers." She went on to argue that all fashion is an eternal deja’-vu. Almost as much a deja vu as sparring designers.       Read more blogs by Phoebe Natanson Read more blogs by ABC News staff

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