Imitation = Flattery? Finding designs at Zara

For years I’ve done an Imitation = Flattery? series on the blog. As mentioned before, I work in a creative industry and I value the work of artists and designers. I really dislike seeing their work knocked off. Everyone should, because if talented people stop thinking it’s worth it to put out their work for public consumption, we all will be a little bit poorer in the world with its loss.

I also think cute design can be found at any price point. I think companies who rip off designs are just lazy. Materials and production values can change but design can live no matter the cost. And as someone with a photographic memory, I see the influences all over, some more egregious than others.

Let’s use Zara, a fast fashion icon. Granted, I love Zara. They have a pulse on trends like no one else and their quality is better than most other brands in their category. But even they aren’t above lifting designs and then tweaking enough to keep them out of trouble. Some people love this about them. But some times they go a bit too far.

When I see these cream d’orsay pumps, for example,

I see the Valentino Garavani Roman Stud pumps…

Same toe box, same strong gold single embellishment. Same chunky heel. Just the ankle strap differs.

Then with their black chain slide sandals, they mimic the Bottega Veneta square toe, plus…

They’re an obvious call bank to the JW Anderson iconic sandals

But these last ones are the ones that could get them a slap on wrist if not a cease and desist. Zara has put out a 3 strap Mary Jane…

They, on the surface, copy all the details of the Louboutin Veronica Mary Jane pumps from last season.. While they don’t have the iridescent patent red (the pair I have)…

But compare them to the Louboutin black patent. The lines and production values of the Louboutin are more graceful with a better and more fluid strap placement but you can see exactly where Zara took their “inspiration”…

Suffice it to say, I’m not a fan of this. I want unique designs at all ranges. I know it can be done. Yes, I’m selfish too. I want to keep seeing the artistry and architecture that marries in footwear design. I hope fast fashion doesn’t take that from us.

In Love with Design

One thing I love is independent design. So a site I keep my eye on is Young British Designers. They always have a great mix of new fresh pieces with an artistic focus.

One of the first pairs of shoes I bought post-move to NYC was actually discovered from them. I was smitten by the Camilla Elphick Lover flats in Silver. Not only are they practical for walking but they also have a sweet secret heart. ❤ How can you resist?!?

But I also had my eye on these striking pendants from Lily Kamper. She’s combined hand-crafting with resin into a very organic mineral look. I was most captured by the turquoise-y/malachite looking piece.

But really all of her pieces in resin are so striking. And not at all subtle… my favorite!

Much of her work now is focused on custom design and pendants with minerals and precious stones but her strong aesthetic really shines.

Kitten on the Move

The City Summer heat finally broke so it was lovely to get outside this weekend. The Carnelian Kitten came along. On Saturday we stopped by Cleopatra’s Needle outside The Met.

Then on Sunday it was back to the Park for a picnic under the trees…

I hope your weekend was a glorious.

The Carnelian Kitten… and a Happy Birthday to me!


I have long been a fan of vintage jewelry. In fact I started collecting pieces when I was in high school. From lovely enameled and glass necklace, earring, bracelet, ring sets to a very fanciful winged dragon necklace, my taste was pretty eclectic.

I also love art, ancient craftsmanship and museums. One day, probably on Pinterest, I saw the most charming ring. A tiny carnelian kitten, perched upright atop a gold circle ring. A possible homage to the goddess Bastet and currently residing (though not on display, I think) at the British Museum, this ring is from the Third Intermediate Period and a possible 3000-ish years old. It was donated in 1947 by Maj Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson, a British army surgeon, administrator and collector, given the title of Pasha by King Farouk in 1942 after giving his home Beit el-Kiridliya to the people of Egypt.

The carved base has a wedjat of the Eye of Horus and the kitten swivels on the axis.

Eye of Horus

I always joked that if I was to steal something from a museum it might be this especially since I’d not seen even a reproduction made, surprisingly. However my dear husband had been listening and undertook to recreate the treasure just for me!

Over many months, he reached out to an extremely helpful museum curator who took out the piece and provided him with tons of measurements and pictures which were then used by our talented friend, award-winning jeweler Wendy Brandes. She helped source a carnelian and gem carver in Germany and then worked with her goldsmith to create a new 18kt cold version of the ring.

The carved kitten
Ring in progress

It is stunning in person and I was overwhelmed to say the least. That 6 people, including my mother-in-law helping to facilitate and keep the secret, in 4 countries conspired to make a gift for me is stunning. He even sourced and themed box from Ukraine to place the ring in.

Teeny ears!
The ring box

Once it was gifted to me, we thought it would be fun to take it to the Egyptian wing at the Met to take a few shots like the one above and in front of some similar swivel rings.

It truly is a gift for the ages and one I will cherish always. Follow the #TheCarnelianKitten on IG to follow it’s adventures.

Coming back for a call out – Imitation = Flattery? Atlantic-Pacific x Halogen edition

Eons ago (10 years!) in blog world, I called out an early influencer’s collaboration “collection” as being a pieced together mishmash of design elements lifted from well-known and established brands’ pieces.  And over the years I’ve tried to point out knock-offs in my “Imitation = Flattery?” series.

Sadly, this hasn’t stopped even a decade on.

The latest, pretty egregious, set of products got me riled up enough to post.

I’m a big fan of Blair Eadie’s style. I have no idea where she keeps it all and I’m sure the overwhelming majority is gifted to her but, I still like a lot of the same things she likes.   I just wouldn’t have the nerve to take a bunch of high end designer pieces from my closet and then work with a company to dumb them down and mass produce them.

If you can tell me these aren’t nearly straight lifts, I’d be astonished.

Blair has said she loves a printed furry coat, especially from Shrimps, which is know for these bold styles –

Here’s the coat from the A-P x Halogen collection.

Taking shoe inspiration from others really sets me off. Here’s Blair wearing Prada patent, stacked-platform oxfords a while back and a close up of a pair from that same collection.

And then there’s the styles from her “designs”…

I might have become the most mad about the triple-bow tops and dresses because she’s making so much of them on her site.  Well, here’s the ASOS dress (top) the inspiration it came from.  I bought this dress too. A bit miffed to see it knocked-off as if the A-P versions (bottom) are totally new.

And last, but certainly not the least example, is the Prince of Wales plaid blazer with faux fur cuffs.   The collection version is cute with the pink for sure..

But I wonder how Fendi feels about being ripped off…


Pretty clear where the inspo came from, huh???

Atlantic-Pacific Collection

Her “collection” is filled with prints and tiered tulle skirts – very a la the pieces she wears from Red Valentino and Viktor and Rolf.  I  think its all very cute but I don’t think intellectual property theft is a label I’d want to wear.

Atlantic-Pacific images sourced from:

This post originally posted on October 10, 2019.