Interesting read on IPO for gown design. When I saw some of the prewedding photos in the magazine some months back, I did think that the gown was created by Renee L (have seen quite a number of my couples using her gowns for their wedding).
The big issue is, is there even original design these days?
Fri, May 15, 2009
The New Paper .The gown that caused a frown
by Kwok Kar Peng
THE celebrity had popped into her shop, took a liking to a diamond-back gown, tried it on and even took a photo of it.
Now the designer of that gown is accusing Michelle Chia of stealing her design for the star's own wedding dress.
The accusation came just days before the Channel 8 host's wedding on Sunday.
Designer Renee Leung said that Michelle had visited her bridal boutique Renee L Collections last November to try on gowns for Channel 8's The Anniversary Show 2008.
That's when Michelle saw the diamond-back gown.
Five months later, Michelle wore a similar-looking gown in a cover of U Weekly, for a report on her wedding.
The gown was one the TV host intended to wear for her wedding.
Ms Leung cried foul.
Michelle, however, denied the accusation. On Sunday, she defiantly wore the dress.
It is understood that both parties have since consulted their lawyers on the matter.
This isn't the first time that the diamond-back design is introduced, said Mr Patrick Chan, who designed Michelle's gown.
According to Mr Chan, chief designer of bridal boutique The Wedding Present, the design had already made its appearance in a Monique Lhuillier gown a few years ago.
The New Paper understands from Mr Chan that the Lhuillier gown had a diamond back and cap sleeves, not unlike Ms Leung's gown.
Michelle's gown instead, features a halter-neck.
An unhappy Mr Chan said he is leaving the issue to Michelle to handle. He also said he thinks Ms Leung is over-reacting.
It is common practice for brides-to-be to refer to bridal magazines for ideas for their own gowns, he said.
Ms Aileen Chow, a bridal dress designer for Golden Horse Awards Bridal & Studio , agreed, and told The New Paper that 'there's no copyright (for dress design) in Singapore'.
She has never heard of anyone copyrighting a dress in her 22 years as a designer, she added.
While it is possible to copy the design of a high-end wedding dress, she said, it won't be an exact replica, because certain fabrics may not be available.
Both Ms Chow and Mr Frederick Lee of Frederick Lee Bridal don't do direct copying from other designers' gowns. They will instead modify the design and inject their own special touches.
Mr Lee told The New Paper that he doesn't register his designs because it's 'troublesome'.
He sounded taken aback when this reporter told him of the accusation by Ms Leung.
His designs, often splashed across magazine pages, have been copied many times as well, he said.
'I have seen staff from other bridal boutiques pretending to be couples and looking through my gowns. People have even told me that they saw gowns with my label hanging in other bridal boutiques,' Mr Lee alleged.
Though hurt initially, the designer of 16 years said he now sees imitation as the best compliment.
'I have to grow immune to it because there's no way to control copying,' he added.
The New Paper contacted the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore last week to ask if it's possible to copyright a dress design, but could not get a reply at press time.