Dolce Gabbana accused of plagiarism and copy by ceramic manufacturer Sargadelos. Review by Eleonora de Gray, Editor-in-Chief of RUNWAY MAGAZINE.
“Once again, Dolce & Gabbana is causing controversy. But this time around, nothing to do with the Asian community or the house’s ties to certain opinion leaders on social media,”- starts Triana Alonso from FashionNetwork her article about lawsuit recently filed by Spanish ceramic manufacturer Sargadelos against Dolce Gabbana. One thing two great designers make mistakes in communication, clumsy joke misread as a resist against Chinese statement, causing damages to their reputation, another throw not supported and false accusations against them.
This is not a fairy tale, “ones upon a times” have no place here. “Opinion leader” is a very big word for Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler, founders and CEOs, and also presidents of…. instagram account “Diet Prada”, who got their million followers by spitting toxic waste on Stefano Gabbana. Easy! In 2018 when this Dolce Gabbana Chinese communication “accident” accrued Diet Prada account had only couple of thousand followers. Aggressive personal insults addressed to Stefano Gabbana made it all better… Talking about human nature… No constructive critic, no analyses, Diet Prada published on instagram just abusive personal insults addressed to Stefano Gabbana. And add here posts in all its ugly diversity : Cute Teddy Bear bags for kids Dolce Gabbana launched on the market at this time were compared to sadomasochist sex toys with no reason at all. Insults for the sake of the insults and new followers, who sky rocketed from 2 thousands to 2 millions only because of that. No wonder after all Dolce Gabbana filed a lawsuit for defamation against Diet Prada.
Appointing new CEO at Dolce Gabbana, brother of Domenico Dolce Alfonso, made things only more complicated when they should be. Giving him “early access” to management of the company was big mistake. For Dolce Gabbana it took about 40 years to build a wonderful brand, for Alfonso Dolce it took less then 2 years to blow up the company and lead the company to being banned in several countries including USA. Have you heard about recent incident related to Vice-President of USA Kamala Harris, her first day in the office, and communication of the office afterwards that USA Government Administration won’t accept or wear Dolce Gabbana brand, disclosed by The Guardian? This is also coming from not-settled on public this “Chinese story”.
Settle this, settle that… “Just do it” – said Nike. I can go on and on for all cheesy lines, so much admired by new CEO until this sink into his narrow brain. Leaving this kind of unsettled mistakes in communication to public gossip of influencers or gossip newspapers and online sources couldn’t damage more than anything else, lawsuits included.
No one is fascinated anymore by creative designs or amazing gowns or artistic hand-made embroideries, everyone already forgot trends Dolce Gabbana set on the market, like sneakers with applications and signatures, like funky old labels on dresses. 2 years of new CEO Alfonso Dolce management and all fascination of Alta Moda (Haute Couture) fabulous shows with oil paintings and drawings of ancient Roman statues on the gowns – all gone with the wind of gossip. Starting with last collection of Alta Moda “Family Affaires” presented in December 2020 which completely destroyed the meaning of high couture by presenting satin shorts with violet “drop-dead-chic” bows with yellow synthetic cheap wigs, casual for Los Angeles low class bars.
Then next step was so called “marketing solutions” picked up somewhere in New York trash. You can’t just take “sandwich leftover” and use it. To start with – It’s not yours! Cosmetic for men is another fiasco, but you can say, ok, try on a marketing for a new product. But picking up the best sellers “trend-launchers” of the designers like Jeremy Scott, Philipp Plein or even Coco Chanel for Men collection Fall 2021-2022 season is a big failure which caused to Dolce Gabbana house another unrepairable damage. And for the pièce de résistance, a marketing mix picked from LVMH / Louis Vuitton – engaging a DJ Khaled Khaled, also known as Beat Novacane, Arab Attack (Wikipedia) from New Orleans, Louisiana to create a capsule collection. Brilliant choice! Only this think… oh, sorry, only this brick was missing to destroy foundation of High Couture (Haute Couture or Alta Moda, no matter what you call it) THE foundation of Dolce Gabbana fashion house.
So today Dolce Gabbana set as a target for all kind of controversy. Spanish ceramic manufacturer Sargadelos accused Dolce Gabbana in plagiarism. Several pieces from Men Spring Summer 2021 collection presented in July 2020 Sargadelos accused in “scandalous copy” of their geometric patterns. Sargadelos demanded Dolce Gabbana to withdraw items with a design similar to their. They claim that they are “registered and commercialized designs since 1967“. Pay attention to registered and commercialized… not created!
Founded in 1806 in Cervo, in the province of Lugo, Sargadelos has grown into one of the most popular design and decoration companies in the market. Sargadelos is a benchmark of ceramics and Spanish tradition. “The main heritage of Sargadelos are its patterns. And the resemblance to the prints of Dolce & Gabbana is completely exaggerated,” protested a representative of the company interviewed by FashionNetwork. Directors from the ceramics company contacted the Italian brand in February and asked to remove certain pieces and items (hats) from the Spanish market. The pieces in question are considered “resembling and similar to models deposited for decades by Sargadelos”. Pay attention to “deposited”… and not designed.
General managers of Sargadelos claimed that the motive “Monférico”, a geometric composition deposited by Sargadelos in 1967, is “a motif which has been indistinguishable from several creations published this season in the men’s line [of Dolce & Gabbana]”, to the Spanish newspaper. “We don’t mind being an inspiration, but we refuse to be copied outright”.
So FashionNetwork and several Spanish newspapers already gave their verdict to Dolce Gabbana: “It is indeed scandalous plagiarism of Sargadelos”. Is it really? Did one of them cared to actually check before giving this verdict?
Dolce Gabbana stated that this Men Spring Summer 2021 collection is a tribute to Gio Ponti, an Italian architect and artist of the beginning of XXth century: “The Spring-Summer 2021 collection of Dolce & Gabbana Homme is inspired by the work carried out by Gio Ponti at the Hotel Parco dei Principi. We have signed a licensing agreement with the heirs of this Italian architect and designer, who own the corresponding rights.”
How about leap of history? Spain in Antic Roman times before Jesus Christ was a part of a Roman Empire. Ceramics and design came from this time. This is the history (told in simplified way), and cared in the culture trough the time. It is a part of the heritage of every nation, every nation in that matter. If someone in XX century like Sargadelos decided to appropriate it in Spain, register a design known from antient times it doesn’t mean he is legit to do so. It is done in 1967. But it doesn’t mean this company create it. They appropriate it, took it from the Spanish culture. And this design never belonged to them.
So as the design of Gio Ponti. The design is taken also from the antient culture. Although Gio Ponti designed the ceramics for this hotel in 1960. The PROJECT YEAR 1962. In 1962, the engineer Fernandes commissioned the architect to convert the ancient Poggio del Conte in Syracuse, a late XVIIIth century construction, suspended between the gulf and the 27 hectares of centuries-old park, into a hotel. Ponti responds with a sober and innovative design, contained in an almost absent architecture that prefers to blend in with the majestic rocky profiles in which it is inserted. Inside, the multiple decorative motifs of the ceramic floors and the white and blue pebbles embedded in the vertical walls form a collage ideally connected to the surrounding seascapes, while defining a specific aesthetic language, in which different arts converge and merge.
And how about turning this story other way around? A CEO of Sargadelos in 1967 simply deiced to appropriate known designs of Italian Gio Ponti and register them in Spain? How about CEO of Sargadelos saw these designs during the visit to the Hotel Parco dei Principi in Italy, and decided to appropriate them? These designs were not known in Spain. And when he came back to Spain in 1965 he decided to produce the ceramics of the designs he saw in Italy? And in 1967 he decided to register them and commercialize them in Spain? Look closely at their public interviews. Not at any time general managers of Sargadelos said that they created this design, they only said that they “registered and commercialized”, but never created!!! How about that for the intellectual property claim turn? Who should be accused in plagiarism after all?
So 60 years later to claim penalties from Dolce Gabbana after taking design from Italian designer Gio Ponti is way too inappropriate! But if Dolce Gabbana decided to keep silence and don’t get to public with warmhearted words we’ll see only beautiful ruins of the Dolce Gabbana Pantheon.