Celebrities falling foul of designer brands is no new thing, and nor is wannabe celeb designers blatantly ripping off luxury brand best-sellers for their own ranges (a premise many high-street chains have built their businesses off.) But when a brand fights back, it makes news. Especially when the person being sued is a huge name.

This morning, shoe brand Aquazzura, which has quickly become a favourite in the luxury fashion media since its launch in 2011 and boasts stars like Rihanna, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, Olivia Palermo, Solange Knowles and Charlize Theron amongst its many fans, filed intent to sue both Ivanka Trump (daughter of The Donald) and the eponymous shoe brand she founded with Marc Fisher Footwear in 2010, for what it claims is a blatant rip-off one of its signature designs.

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Aquazurra’s best-selling Wild Thing, the arguably copied shoe in question
Credit: Instagram @aquazurra

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Solange Knowles wearing the Wild Thing shoe in yellow (but is in no way linked to this case)
Credit: Instagram @aquazurra

According to official court documents, Trump’s Hettie shoe copies “nearly every detail of Plantiff’s well-known and coveted Wild Thing Shoe, from the shape to the silhouette to the fringe covering the toes, to the tassel on the heel… in a nearly identical colour palette.” (Side note: Aquazurra’s Wild Thing is available for $698 on Net-A-Porter right now, whereas the Ivanka Trump Hettie, which is made in China, costs literally a third price right now at Bloomingdales for $208.)

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Aquazurra’s founder took to Instagram with this side-by-side pic, captioning it: “One of the most disturbing things in the fashion industry is when someone blatantly steals your copyright designs and doesn’t care. You should know better. Shame on you @ivankatrump! Imitation is not the most sincere form of flattery. #aquazurra #ivankatrump Proud of mine #madeinitaly #italiansdoitbetter”
Credit: Instagram @aquazurra

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Former model and entrepreneur Ivanka Trump, who is based in New York
Credit: Instagram @IvankaTrump

“Defendants Ivanka Trump and her company… [seek] … the same success Aquazzura experienced but without having to put in the hard creative work,” the brand’s lawyers said in their 29-page complaint document submitted to the District Court of New York, adding that as a result Trump has “resorted to knocking off Plaintiff’s popular designs.” They then drove the message home with this visual comparison:

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Exhibit A (left): Aquazurra’s Wild Thing shoe. Exhibit B (right): Ivanka Trump’s Hettie
Images: from official court documents filed with the District Court of New York

Lawyers even insert quotes taken from the pages of the world’s best-known magazines singing the praises of the Wild Thing shoe when it was launched early last year. “Indeed, the Wild Thing was featured on Lyst’s most coveted items of 2015 list, as it was one of the site’s most popular sellers of the year,” the document says.

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Aquazurra’s Colombian-born founder and creative director Edgardo Osorio (who was raised in London and Miama) photographed holding his signature shoe last year
Credit: Instagram @aquazarra

Trump has indirectly responded through Mark Fisher Footwear CFO, Matthew Burris, who according to TMZ says, “This is a baseless lawsuit aimed at generating publicity. The shoe in question is representative of a trending fashion style, is not subject to intellectual property law protection and there are similar styles made by several major brands… The lawsuit is without merit and we will vigorously defend ourselves against the claim.” 

It’s not the first time Trump has been accused of ‘borrowing’ Aquazurra designs. Twice before the brand has complained to Ms Trump & Co. for uncanny similarities. Both times brand Ivanka Trump removed shoes in question from sale. Will the same thing happen this time? It appears the courts of New York will decide.

thoughts?