Steve Madden Is Being Sued (Again) for Copycat Shoe Designs


Steve Madden is notorious for stepping on the toes of other shoe designers. (Photo: Getty Images)

Litigious luxury shoe brand Aquazzura is at it again. As Yahoo Style reported last week, the Italian company is suing Ivanka Trump and Marc Fisher for copying three popular footwear designs. Now Aquazzura has filed a similar suit against Steve Madden, also for lifting a trio of designs — Christy, Sexy Thing, and Wild Thing (which Trump was also accused of stealing) — according to Women’s Wear Daily.


Founder Edgardo Osorio’s complaint states: “Defendant’s predatory business model depends on copying these and other popular Aquazzura designs, which are virtually identical but of lower quality than Aquazzura’s luxury products.” One of the designs Madden is being accused of knocking off, the Christy shoe, has actually been patented by the Florence-based company.


Steve Madden has developed quite a reputation for stealing other, often high-end brands’ creative visions. In 2009, Alexander McQueen took Madden to court for ripping off his Faithful high-heeled bootie, according to New York magazine’s the Cut. Then, in 2014, his company was sued by Balenciaga for selling “a studied copy” of the French fashion label’s Motorcycle bag, according to the Fashion Law. Back in 2009, New York magazine reported that Balenciaga filed suit against Madden for imitating its undeniably distinctive Lego shoe, which retailed for $4,175 and was famously worn by Beyoncé at the 2007 American Music Awards.


As Yahoo Finance reported, Madden was also the subject of a lawsuit lodged by Stella McCartney last year for copying her label’s Falabella bag. As if that’s not enough, the same year, Skechers sued Madden for replicating its Go Walk shoe line.

All cases were settled out of court, so if history is any indication, the Aquazurra case will follow suit.

Madden has gone on record to defend his brand’s rampant copycatting, brushing off the Balenciaga accusation as “silly” and “stupid,” according to the Fashion Law. He brazenly said of the McQueen knockoff: “I’m sure they were alike. Yeah, of course they were. We see millions of shoes. We are influenced by everything that goes on.”

In a strange and grandiose turn, Madden even compared his legal troubles to those of the Beatles. In 2013, he told the New York Times, “I am not embarrassed by [the lawsuits] whatsoever. I mean, George Harrison was sued for ‘My Sweet Lord,’ right? And John Lennon was sued over ‘Come Together.’”

We’ve yet to see how far Madden’s long and winding road of litigation will go.

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