Of all the fashion powerhouses you don’t want to lock heads with, Chanel is probably number one. So news that the brand is filing a lawsuit against maverick T-shirt brand What About Yves isn’t great for owner, Jeanine Heller.
What About Yves are accused of trademark infringement for their tees and jumpers that portray Chanel’s double C logo as the Ghostbusters sign. The Fashion Law reported that the lawsuit was filed in New York and accuses Heller of “displaying, offering for sale, and selling on her website, and selling to third-party retailers, a T-shirt and a sweatshirt bearing Chanel‘s CC monogram mark with an image of an animated ghost commonly associated with the motion picture Ghostbusters.”
However, Heller claims that Chanel’s lawsuit has no legal grounding and is being withdrawn. In an email to Vogue yesterday morning she said: “They [Chanel] filed against the wrong party. I was never doing business as What About Yves; the company is a corporation and Chanel, by law, cannot sue the owner of the company for damages.” She continued, “Moreover, my majority stake in the company was acquired over the past year. You would think with a company such as Chanel their attorneys would do research before filing a trivial lawsuit.”
It’s not yet clear whether Heller’s claims are correct, but it appears that Chanel’s legal action still stands. In response to the lawsuit, What About Yves have re-listed the merchandise as “Shirt-Gate #2” and “Sweatshirt-Gate #2”.
This also mocks the controversy surrounding their Yves Saint Laurent parody range. The Ain’t Laurent Without Yves merchandise came at a time when Yves Saint Laurent’s creative director Hedi Slimane decided to drop Yves from the brand logo. One Parisian store was found to stock both the Saint Laurent collection and the “Ain’t Laurent” parody, leading Slimane to pull all stock out of the store.
We don’t know whether What About Yves is in deep water, or whether this dispute will serve as yet another brilliant PR campaign. Either way, Heller’s statement’s clear – she ain’t afraid of Chanel.