Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Shades of Céline in Zara S/S 2014

Zara’s latest lookbook takes strong cues from a previous Céline ad campaign – and has (yikes!) lots of belly on show

Mon, Feb 3, 2014, 07:30


It’s a widely accepted reality that the high street – especially those of the fast-turnover variety such as Zara and Penneys (though there is no high-street shop you can go into and not discover a “catwalk-inspired” item among its stock) - take “inspiration” from high fashion. So vague is the term “inspiration” interpreted by the Spanish fashion giant that it has run into trouble over the years for copyright infringement, most notably with litigious Christian Louboutin.

This season, Zara has not only taken inspiration from several high-end designers, but it’s taken a leaf (ahem) out of Céline‘s A/W 2011 advertising book in “reinterpreting” Juergen Teller’s photographs for the French brand, in a series of images shot by Patrick Demarchelier for the spring/summer 2014 lookbook.

It’s a bit like playing fancy spot-the-difference – and though it’s unlikely Céline (or Teller) will come after Inditex for the liberties its taken in this creative endeavour, it does make the whole process feel a little, well, dirty.

It’s one thing to take high-fashion styles and reproduce them (with several changes, crucial to ensuring you don’t breach copyright) for a high-street audience – and no one’s arguing that the democratisation of fashion is a bad thing – but it’s another to appear to blatantly copy someone else’s styling, art direction and photography.

That lesson in moral outrage over with, let’s talk about the clothes. A few week’s back I did a S/S roundup in the print edition of The Irish Times, wherein I rejoiced at the fact that skirts were knee-length and midriffs were nowhere to be found. Well, in the immortal words of Baby’s daddy from Dirty Dancing: when I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong. Or, at least, when Zara makes me look as if I’m wrong, I can admit it.

Because the thing is, regardless of just how covered-up the catwalk makes spring/summer look, most of us will be getting our duds in Zara, Topshop, Warehouse et al, and Céline’s oversized brush-stroke tees mean nothing if what we’re offered within our budget are midriff-baring tees and short shorts.

One thing we can be assured of, however, is that Ireland will have approximately 10 full days in the entire year wherein midriffs and short shorts will be wearable. Those will be the days I spend indoors, sweating profusely in my 100 denier tights (from Penneys, and amazing).