A Brooklyn-based fashion designer is suing Yoko Ono for stealing her ideas. But the problem is that they weren’t her ideas to begin with. Haleh Nematzadeh is an emerging designer and owner of Smashing Starlets LLC. Her new line of clothing features sheer fabrics with solid hand designs covering various strategic locations. Yoko Ono has also recently released a new line featuring similar hand designs. But neither is the first to come up with the idea.
In the 1970s, designer Ann Roth dressed Barbra Streisand in “hands” lingerie for her performance in “The Owl and the Pussycat,” in which Streisand played a prostitute named Doris. She first came up with the idea after researching burlesque and reading Screw magazine.
“I was looking for dirty, erotic, skuzzy underwear, and somehow or another I made it up,” she said.
But Haleh Nematzadeh believes Yoko Ono and her design partner, Opening Ceremony, have wronged her. “This case is about… Yoko Ono and multimillion-dollar fashion company who together stole the designs of an up and coming designer and pawned them off as their own,” reads the suit.
According to Nematzadeh, she met with Ono’s design team to organize a photo shoot and feature of the collection. When she showed them sketches and pictures of the collection, however, they cancelled the shoot and shortly afterwards Ono released a strikingly similar collection for men. Ono, however, claims that the idea originated from sketches she had done in 1969.
Either way, Roth believes the suit is a silly one, considering the idea for hands covering private body parts is a very old one. “The girl is going to have to start suing everyone,” she said. “It might be from some burlesque queen from the 1920s. Who knows?”
Photos courtesy Gonna Walk the Night, eBay, and Opening Ceremony