If major fashion brands were people, they'd be narcissists. Before we get into the Louis Vuitton lawsuit against Warner Bros., let's review some of the symptoms, culled from the wonderful Mayo Clinic: a narcissist believes she is "better than others" and "special," expects "constant praise and admiration," is both "jealous of others" and convinced that "others are jealous" of her, sets "unrealistic goals," has a "fragile self-esteem," appears "tough-minded or unemotional," and "takes advantage of others."
All but one of these deplorable traits are in display in 2012's very first fashion scandal, Louis Vuttion's counterfeiting suit against Warner Bros. The film industry giant is simply too giant for Louis Vuitton to "take advantage" of it, but no worries, because LV has plenty of other people to exploit (think unpaid interns).
The luxury fashion brand is suing Warner Bros. for using a counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbag in a scene of The Hangover Part II. Normally, that might be kind of reasonable—Louis Vuitton counterfeiting is rampant—but in the movie, the prop was used as part of a joke.
The scene is set at an airport: the character Alan (Zach Galifianakis) carries a suitcase bearing the logo "LVM," an obvious tip-off that the item is a fake (genuine Louis Vuitton bags are marked "LV"). “Careful," Alan tells his friend, "that is a Louis Vuitton,” mispronouncing the name as "Lewis." That's the joke: Alan is a sloppy spazz that brags about owning a luxury designer item even though he a) can't pronounce the designer's name and b) obviously bought a fake. The scene is making fun of poseurs, and it uses a poseur bag as a prop for the joke. In the movie, as in life, Alan is comically ridiculous for carrying a counterfeit. Not that I know anything about law and whether this would be an effective strategy, but it doesn't seem like it would be an insane stretch for even a brain-dead lawyer to make the case that the scene was a subtle defense of intellectual property.
But Louis Vuitton's massive ego doesn't, apparently, leave any room for a sense of humor (thinks it's "special"—check. "Fragile self-esteem"—check.). The fashion heavyweight is demanding that the film be removed from sale and seeking part of the film's $580+ million profits and triple damages. Talk about "unreasonable goals."
Image via Vogue.co.uk—a Louis Vuitton handbag at the brand's Fall 2011 runway show