Are Mansur Gavriel’s New Shoes A Low-Key Knockoff?

Earlier this week, we were pretty excited when we got a glimpse at fashion-girl favorite brand Mansur Gavriel's new lineup of colorful and comfortable-looking shoes, to be released spring 2016. The brand's pinkified and Instagram-friendly presentation took the internet by storm, just as its bucket bags and wheat-pasted ads did before. Our excitement waned, though, when we learned the shoes, suede, slip-on mule heels in a rainbow of colors, might just be a reproduction of pairs by one of our other favorite labels, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, seen on Solange and Sienna Miller.
According to WWD, fans have reached out to Zadeh via text and social media to bring the suspicious overlap to her attention. Not only do Mansur Gavriel's color choices resemble Zadeh's, but the block heels in combination with the open-toe mule silhouette comes all too close to the designer's private label shoes.
And, the similarities don't end there. Model Mari Giudicelli, who has appeared in many of Zadeh's images both online and in campaigns, also modeled in the Mansur Gavriel presentation Monday evening, however withdrew her participation in planned campaign and lookbook shoots following the night's events. As Giudicelli explained to WWD: “I am really grateful for everything Maryam has done for me, and it was not fair to keep working with Mansur Gavriel after the whole presentation thing. The shoes are very similar, and unfortunately there was this whole conflict.”
While the choice of model makes this double-up all the more questionable, it's worth acknowledging that the sandals both brands created are classic open-toe slide mules, a style that's by no means unique. It's easier to accidentally "knock-off" a shoe with a generic and very commonly used style than it is to mimic a one-of-a-kind detail by chance. As such, this case of lookalikes could be totally innocent. But nonetheless, the similarities are there, and they are pretty striking — click through the match-ups ahead, and form your own opinion on whether or not the two brands' shoes are just too close for comfort.
We've reached out to both brands for comment and will update with any remarks.
UPDATE: Both designers involved have issued official statements. Designer Maryam Nassir Zaheh's is condensed below:
"The use of my signature block heel paired with an open-toe mule and slide designs, in conjunction with rich hues in suede and leather are, in my opinion, too close to be an accident. [...] It saddens me that a fellow New-York based brand, especially one based a only a few blocks from my design studio and retail store, would so blatantly attempt to plagiarize my work and think that it would go unnoticed."

Mansur Gavriel responded, as told to Business of Fashion:

"Recently it has come to our attention that fellow New York City brand Maryam Nassir Zadeh is claiming similarities between her designs and our newly launched Spring/Summer 2016 shoe collection. This deeply saddens us as any similarity is completely coincidental. Our line has been developed and designed over a period of 18 months, drawing inspiration from classic shoe silhouettes and the iconic colours and materials of our handbag collection.

Mansur Gavriel was founded in 2012 with a dedication to providing clean, classic handbag designs crafted in the highest quality Italian leathers. It is our design philosophy and concept to concentrate on a few classical shapes in a wide array of colours and materials. That same philosophy guided us in designing our shoe collection which consists of 4 styles, 5 heel heights, 2 fabrications and 16 colours, resulting in 320 SKUs. The colours selected for this collection all tie back to the interior and exterior colours of our core handbag collection, which has been on the market since June 2013.

We respect Maryam Nassir Zadeh as a designer and retailer, and are customers of her store. However, we believe that neither she nor we can claim ownership of a mule or slide or block heel or colour, for that matter. We are well aware of rampant imitation of young designers in the marketplace and have personally experienced this many times. However, we are also well aware we do not own the silhouette of the bucket bag or the tote."

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