Designspiration: Valentino to LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s

I love catwalk to sidewalk trends – in fact I’ve written about them severally on this blog before – largely because it gives us average Joe’s (or Joanne’s) the chance to buy into the luxurious and unattainable world of high-end design.

That said, trends are one thing, precise designs are quite another. Catwalk copycats are controversial at best – bare-faced thieves at worst. And as I work with emerging designers every day, it is tough seeing designs blatantly ripped off, as it is at that end of the industry that it can do the most damage. But any creative ‘borrowing’ – no matter how established the original designer – is questionable. Which is why one particular piece from Lauren Conrad’s latest collection for Kohl’s has rather split my loyalties.

Several months ago, I spied a to-die-for summer day dress on ShopStyle, courtesy of Red Valentino. It was a classic cut, high-necked but sleeveless, finely belted at the waist with a girly flare to the full skirt taking it almost to the knee. But it was the delicate print showering the piece with tiny scattered flowers that I fell for. Because it flew off the shelves (despite being polyester and still priced at over £500), ShopStyle no longer showcase the look, but behold:

RED Valentino day dress front

RED Valentino day dress reverse

RED Valentino day dress close up

Cute, no?

So imagine my delight, tempered with an eyebrow distinctly raised, when during this week’s LC stalking, I came across this little number – the LC Lauren Conrad Floral Ponte Dress, priced at a rather more affordable $60 (currently on sale at $42):

LC Lauren Conrad floral ponte dress

Fortunately for Ms. Conrad, the looks are distinctive enough for it not to be classed a knock-off – the style of dress alone is markedly different, and the black to white transition which makes the Red Valentino so adorable translates as solid black in LC’s version. But just take the top half of the print and compare the two…

As a dedicated LC fan, I’ll class this ‘designspiration’ and revel in the fact that I can save about £500* shopping at Kohl’s, swapping a polyester shift for a polyester tea dress.

*Well, I could if Kohl’s shipped to the UK. Sort it out, people.

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