Chloe Wise, the artist whose "Chanel" bagel bag caught the attention of fashion fans when actress India Menuez showed up at a Chanel No. 5 event with the bag on her arm, is expanding her range of food-inspired bags. The Canadian-born, New York-based artist, who apparently became widely recognized last year thanks to that "Chanel" bagel bag, has introduced ten new bags: the Louis Vuitton Baguette and Croissant, as well as the PBJLV -- all of which appear to include counterfeit Louis Vuitton hardware and accessories; the Ain't No Challah Back(pack) Girl and American Classic, which are adorned with fake Prada logos; Pancakes No. 5, an obvious take on Chanel; the Earl of Sandwich that is complete with what appear to be styled DIOR letters; the Moschino English Muffin and Belgian Moschino Waffles; the YSL Cinnamon bun bag; and last but not least, the Bagel and Locks, which comes with Coach hardware. With the latest additions to Wise's collection, we have to ask: Just how legal are her high fashion food bags?
If we follow the same line of reasoning we set forth in deciding the legality of the bagel bag, these new sculptures (yes, the sandwiches and croissants are actually sculptures) may be illegal. It seems obvious that based on Wise's use of the various design houses' trademarked logos, they may each have trademark infringement claims (and potentially, trademark dilution claims) … IF the design houses can show that consumers are likely to be confused as to the source of the goods, as this is the key to a successful trademark infringement claim. Judging by the number of articles dedicated to what was believed to be an actual Chanel bag in the shape of a bagel on the heels of the bag's debut in October 2014, this probably won't be a difficult element for the brands to meet.
So, let's say the design houses are able to establish merited trademark infringement and/or dilution claims. What can Wise do? Turns out, there is a defense available to Wise that could save her should she find herself on the receiving end of a lawsuit: parody. To successfully make a claim of parody, Wise would have to establish that she was commenting on or criticizing the individual design houses at issue. Considering that the bio on her website, Wise describes herself as "known for her humorous and often irreverent works which are inspired by popular culture and explore issues of the female body and sexuality, consumerism, Jewish identity, luxury, desire, and internet culture, amongst other things" -- chances are, she would cry "Parody!" and it would be up to the court to decide whether or not she meets that standard. It is worth noting that courts generally do not find something to be a parody if it merely makes a general comment about our culture or consumerism or something like that. Instead, the comment or criticism must be specific to the party (the individual design houses in our case).
More to come (maybe). In the meantime, check out the bags below and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section …