British designer accused of plagiarism

Paris - British designer John Galliano has been ordered to pay 200 000 euros (about R1,9-million) in damages to photographer William Klein for plagiarising his technique in an ad campaign, court officials said on Thursday.

The Galliano advertisement campaign splashed in French and international fashion magazines featured black-and-white photos, displayed like a contact sheet with a two glossy dotted lines on top and at the bottom.

Judge Claude Vallet of the Paris civil court ruled that Galliano's fashion house had "deliberately borrowed the composition of the work to present the photographs of its models, which is illegal without the authorisation of Mr William Klein."

Klein said in an interview to Le Monde newspaper that he discovered the fashion ads when a friend remarked to him: "William, why did you do this lame work for Galliano?".

Klein lodged the lawsuit in the Paris court on February 26, demanding 640 000 euros in damages for plagiarising his painted contact sheets technique.

Lawyer Michel-Paul Escande, acting on behalf of Galliano, said his client had appealed against the decision rendered on March 28. A date has yet to be set for the appeal hearing.

Galliano, who designs under his own label and also for Christian Dior, pulled the plug on the ad campaign shortly after the lawsuit was filed. - Sapa-AFP

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