I like to think of myself as a model citizen. When I speed (which admittedly I do from time to time) I pay my fines. I pay my taxes and I protect ladies even older than myself from getting hurt while crossing the street or doing their shopping. So you can expect my incredible surprise when I received an email from the Etsy LEGAL department. What did I do wrong while uploading my cherished vintage finds from France? Turns out I had been hunted down by the Chanel Squad…
Coco Chanel is one of my all time favorite design icons as well as a personal source of inspiration: men wise, money wise, world wise. She was so elegant, so courageous, and let’s face it, so naughty: what a great example to modern women! So why were her legal police after little ole me…because, quite frankly, I gave her a compliment. A HUGE compliment. I described one of my items (Haute Couture, signed by designer Jean Biolay, and made in Paris mind you, so FAR from a rip off ) as ‘inspired by Chanel’. Because it is! A black and white checked jacket with gold button trim. Far enough from Chanel for the other French designer not to get into copyright trouble, yet close enough for the Chanel Police to bust me!
It was a Compliment!!! Like Bach quoting Vivaldi, or Karel Appel citing Picasso…
great art that inspired great art.
Nothing came of it further. I removed the compliment from my Etsy listing and that was that. But it is strange. I do NOT buy nor sell rip offs: Ever! I do NOT condole the existence of rip offs as they are most likely made by children who should be in school as opposed to in slavery. I can recognize a fake from a distance, and I DO recognize greatness, genius even.
And that is what Coco Chanel was.
So Chanel police: please, leave her admirers alone, and spend your energy on catching the crooks that knock off her bags in third world countries with the assistance of slave labor.
And please, just accept the compliment to great, great vintage, yes, even timeless, design.