Ralph Lauren is being accused of plagiarizing a cape design from Malaysian couturier Datuk Zang Toi, which was worn by singer-songwriter Alicia Keys at the Met Gala on Monday (2 May).
According to a report by the New York Post, the copycat cape was the designer behind the multiple Grammy-winning singer’s black cape is similar to Zang’s New York skyline design, which he debuted for more than a decade ago in his Spring 2009 collection.
Other than the colours, the use of more crystals, and the arrangement of the skyscrapers, both capes are so identical that fashion followers thought Keys was wearing Zang at the ‘Gilded Glamour’-themed fashion party.
“I thought that was yours the entire time,” said a netizen who wrote on Zang’s Facebook post about the fashion knockoff.
“They copied Zang because they know Zang is the most creative unparalleled fashion designer,” New York Post quoted another one of Zang’s followers as saying.
Speaking to the New York Post, Zang said the cape was inspired by his love for his adopted home, New York City, adding that he has received many messages claiming that his design was stolen at the Met Gala.
“I came here 41 years ago with USD300 to study at Parsons School of Design and I wanted to show my love and appreciation for the city that embraced me — and allowed me to live the American Dream.”
“I decided to bring the iconic hand-beaded New York skyline cape out of the archive — timeless beauty never goes out of style — to pay tribute to my favourite city at my 2020 ‘New York, New York’ runway show,” he said.
While Toi’s cape was from his Spring 2009 collection, it was later worn by Malaysian model, Ling Tan, at the 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards and it was showcased again in 2020.
“I decided to bring the iconic hand-beaded New York skyline cape out of the archive – timeless beauty never goes out of style – to pay tribute to my favourite city at my 2020 ‘New York, New York’ runway show,” Toi added.
Zang also took to his Twitter to call out Ralph Lauren on the similarities of their capes.
“Ironically, I opened my F2020 Runway Show with the great Alicia Key’s ‘Empire State of Mind’. Team Ralph Lauren are paying very, very close attention,” he tweeted.
Ralph Lauren has yet to comment on the matter.
Nonetheless, this is not the first time Lauren was called a copycat. In 1994, Ralph Lauren was ordered to pay USD$350,000 to fashion house, Yves Saint Laurent, for copying a tuxedo dress.
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