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Chic and Vengeful: The Most Dramatic Fashion Designer Feuds of All Time
There's nothing nastier than couture houses at war.
Fashion designers and houses at the top of their game rarely have time to stop and ruffle someone else's feathers. But when they do? Honey, pop some popcorn — it makes for some pretty riveting drama. Here are the most riveting inter-fasion feuds, ever.
Coco Chanel vs. Elsa Schiaperelli
If you were a fashionista circa World War II, there were two names you wanted in your closet: Chanel and Schiaperelli (the latter shuttered in 1954). Apparently, the two ladies in charge didn't get along; the biography Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History revealed, "Of course they were rivals, privately damning each other with faint praise. It is also claimed that Chanel once succeeded in setting Schiaparelli on fire."
You read that right! As the story goes, Chanel—dressed as a tree at a costume party—wooed Schiaperelli into dancing with her, and cha-cha'd her into a chandelier full of candles. Talk about getting lit!
Giorgio Armani vs. Dolce & Gabbana Star
It seems fairly laughable to think that designers as famous as these would fight over quilted trousers, but Armani didn't think it was funny when Dolce & Gabbana put some on the runway a year after he did. The British press called the 2009 feud "Trousergate," with The Guardian quoting Armani as saying: "Now they are copying. Later, they will learn." The publication received a rebuttal statement from D&G: "Surely we still have much to learn," it read. "But definitely not from him. Stylistically, the Armani style is not, and has never been, an inspiration source for us and we stopped seeing his fashion shows years ago."
Karl Lagerfeld vs. Yves Saint Laurent
Decades before Karl Lagerfeld publicly sniped Meryl Streep for a controversial dress choice, he was battling it out with Yves Saint Laurent, who passed away in 2008. A 2015 biopic revealed that they were not only longtime business rivals but that they dated the same man—and Karl was with him first!
Tom Ford vs. Yves Saint Laurent
Tom Ford was the Creative Director for Yves Saint Laurent from 1999 until 2004. Rumors had long swirled that Monsieur Saint Laurent himself wasn't always pleased with Ford's work. And for a few seasons Ford simultaneously designed for YSL and Gucci until he could no longer sustain the pace, Ford told The Independent in 2015.
"At the very beginning we were quite friendly and then I believe when I started to deviate from what he felt was appropriate for the house, and we started to become successful and I started to get quite alot of press for it, he didn't really like it very much," he revealed to the publication. "And I do have some letters in his hand. I remember one line was 'in thirteen minutes you've destroyed 40 years of my work' or 'my life's work' or something like that." Luckily, Ford has found success with his own eponymous label, and the house of Saint Laurent continues to thrive.
Louis Vuitton vs. Hermès
A nearly 13-year odyssey of cattiness and lawsuits between two of fashion's biggest names was finally tamed in 2014. The Fashion Law has an excellent timeline if you want the full play-by-play of an adventure that had Hermès raising claims of hostile takeovers and insider trading at Louis Vuitton. The latter house countered with charges of blackmail and unfair competition.
Tory Burch vs. Chris Burch
It might not get nastier than a feud between former spouses. Tory Burch and her ex-husband Chris Burch settled a pair of dueling lawsuits in 2013. At the heart of the disagreements: Chris claimed Tory was interfering with his attempts to sell his shares of her company. Meanwhile, Tory claimed that his new company C. Wonder was a wee bit too similar to hers. The initial proceedings were ugly, according to Vanity Fair; a judge quipped that the lawsuits were a "drunken WASP fest." Ouch, that stings the most.