Over the weekend, Kim Kardashian attended the Hollywood Beauty Awards in Los Angeles in a barely-there vintage Thierry Mugler gown. The dress, from the house’s Spring 1998 haute couture collection, had people talking online. (A sampling of headlines: “Kim Kardashian Wore the Sexiest/Craziest Dress Ever and Was THIS Close to Having a Nip Slip,” “Kim Kardashian Wore Her Most Revealing Dress Yet and Twitter Is Shook,” “Kim Kardashian Debuts Her Most Shocking Dress Yet (and Avoids a Wardrobe Malfunction).”) And within hours, it had been knocked off.
By Monday, shoppers could go on FashionNova and purchase the “Winning Beauty Cut Out Gown”, a black maxi featuring cutouts and slits similar to those on Kardashian’s Mugler dress. Its product description doesn’t reference Kim or her look, but it still sold out. (There’s an option to join a waiting list.)
FashionNova, often referred to as a retailer for the Instagram age, releases merchandise at an incredibly fast pace and promotes it on influencers ranging from Cardi B to Kylie Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian. Over the years, it’s been accused ripping off designers on multiple occasions, some instances more brazen than others: Never forget how it recreated Jenner’s 21st birthday outfits and put them up for purchase on its site within hours of her party.
The timing of FashionNova’s latest Kardashian-inspired release—which theoretically involved designing a dress, making a sample, and photographing a model wearing it before putting it on its e-commerce—raised some eyebrows. Shortly after it appeared online, the fashion watchdog Instagram account Diet Prada shared its own theory as to how FashionNova was able to turn it around so quickly: Could it have gotten a tip from Kardashian herself?
Diet Prada based its speculation on an Instagram Story from a reported FashionNova e-commerce model, Yodit Yemane, in which she shares images of the “Winning Beauty Cut Out Gown” dating on February 14, days before Kardashian would wear the vintage Mugler dress. So Diet Prada asked its 1.1 million Instagram followers: “Did Fashion Nova whip up the dress overnight in their Los Angeles atelier after seeing Kim in it or is she peddling her vintage finds to mass retailers ahead of debuting them for a calculated, timely release?” (Diet Prada wasn’t available to comment for this story.)
Kardashian herself responded to that question on Tuesday. In a series of tweets, the reality star and businesswoman addressed allegations that she cooperated with FashionNova to replicate her looks, saying that she’s “not leaking her looks to anyone”—and that it’s “devastating” to see the designer pieces she wears knocked off at any retailer.
“Only two days ago, I was privileged enough to wear a one-of-a-kind vintage Mugler dress and in less than 24 hours it was knocked off and thrown up on a site,” she said. “This is a way to get people to sign up for their mailing list and make people believe there is some kind of relationship between me and this fashion site. There is not.”
Kardashian contextualized her remarks in past accusations against FashionNova of copying Yeezy, her husband Kanye West’s label: “I’ve watched these companies profit off my husband’s work for years and now that it’s also affecting designers who have been so generous to give me access to their beautiful works, I can no longer sit silent.”
She ended the thread by explaining how she’ll often plan outfits months in advance—and setting designers up to be copied would only undermine them. “I’m not leaking my looks to anyone, and I don’t support what these companies are doing,” she wrote.
When asked to comment, a representative for FashionNova told Glamour that the brand has not been in contact with Kim Kardashian, nor did it intentionally copy her dress.