Vintage Inspired | Rachel Zoe Copied Vintage Dress

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Rachel Zoe has just debuted her new line in WWD, but it seems the vintage loving stylist may have taken her inspiration from vintage a little to literally. I was immediately drawn to this very graphic white beaded dress with a bold black beaded, graphic floral design. Very 1960s. Apparently Zoe copied the dress, exactly, for her collection.

Of course this isn’t the first time a designer has recreated a vintage garment, stitch by stitch. A couple years ago, a fringed, beaded bag spotted on the Anna Sui runway struck me as being quite familiar. Well that’s because the Anna Sui bag was an exact replica of an antique bag I had spotted at Dorthea’s Closet. Fashionista picked up my tip here. Fashionista noticed the Zoe vintage replica, as well as Styleite and Fashionologie.

But is this really “vintage inspired” or simply a vintage reproduction. In my eyes, there is a huge difference.

Those of us in the vintage community – buyers, sellers, collectors and lovers alike – are well aware of the tremendous source of inspiration that vintage clothing plays in the collections of modern designers. When I think of vintage inspired designers I think of Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Furstenberg, Betsey Johnson. I mean let’s face it – everything that can be done with fabric has been done. We can even find some ancient costume influence in avant garde designers like Martin Margiela.

But when does inspiration become flat out copying? And does it really matter so long as we have a constant stream of beautiful garments?

Five years ago, I would’ve been dead set against copying a vintage design so literally and calling it your creation. I guess I just take exception to “designers” that simply recreate something. A part of me is giddy that the Zoe dress will be available for me to purchase and wear, but couldn’t it have had some new element. Something that makes it truly new and different rather than the same thing someone else did fifty years ago.

I guess when it comes to vintage, I’d like to think my garments are unique and rare. On the other hand, I really love this dress.

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2 comments

1 Lisa { 01.12.11 at 11:48 am }

That is flat out stealing. How uninspired are they that they have to literally reproduce vintage pieces without citing the fact?

2 Mrs D { 10.18.11 at 6:43 pm }

It seems obvious that if your design is a modern replica you must pay respect and cite the original design. I’m all for bringing back some great vintage patterns and styles, but be true to the designer. Agreed: Vintage inspired is different than replica.

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