Cadbury's, their Kate Moss hologram – and a lawsuit from beyond the grave

The Alexander McQueen Company was last night considering legal action after the confectioners Cadbury released a Flake advertisement featuring a floating female figure which allegedly resembles the late designer's famous 1996 hologram of Kate Moss.

The similarities between the advert and the spectacular hologram that appeared at the end of McQueen's autumn/winter 2006 collection, first shown in Paris in March that year, have left many in the fashion industry outraged, with friends suggesting the concept dreamt up by the designer – who died in February this year – had now been "crassly copied" for commercial gain.

A spokesman for the Alexander McQueen Company said: "We are seeking legal advice."

When television viewers see the new Flake advert, they may, for a moment at least, marvel at its inventiveness as they see an elegant model dressed in a swirling yellow dress against a dramatic black backdrop.

But for those who attended McQueen's fashion show the similarity is offensive. The swirling image, beamed as a hologram at the end of his catwalk show, hit the headlines for featuring Moss, who was mired in scandal after being caught on camera snorting cocaine.

By using the model for his sensational stunt, McQueen was considered to be rehabilitating her image in the fashion world.

The hologram was co-created by McQueen and Baillie Walsh, a film director who worked with the designer in 2006, and who is now responsible for creating the Flake advert. The advertising company Fallon enlisted Walsh for the project. The director was unavailable for comment yesterday. The dress for the commercial has been designed by Antony Price.

A Cadbury spokesman acknowledged that Walsh's past work was one of the motivating factors for hiring him but remained unapologetic over any passing similarity to McQueen's show.

"This is about Baillie Walsh's work," said the spokesman. "It was his house style that attracted us rather than any previous work he had done. The Alexander McQueen show is not relevant. His previous work was one of many of our visual references but not the only one. We would not accept the charge of imitation."

The spokesman added that the concept for the advert came from Walsh rather than from the company itself, which merely wanted the yellow dress to represent the chocolate's wrapper.

Last night, the internet and blogosphere were teeming with outraged McQueen supporters, some of whom left messages on YouTube the day after the commercial was first aired, including one which read: "I'm fuming. A corporate giant trampling over a dead man's legacy. This surely cannot be legal." Another read: "Even though it's directed by the same guy who did the Alexander McQueen hologram it doesn't mean that the hologram idea was his to copy."

A friend of McQueen's yesterday said the late designer was "always incredibly proud and protective of this idea. The fact that he cast Kate Moss for the hologram was highly significant given the public perception of her at the time."

But as far as the realities of the advertising world go, the industry is by its nature parasitic, and unapologetically so. Larissa Vince, deputy editor of the ad industry magazine, Campaign, said that in some ways, this could be taken as a tribute, instead of an insult.

"I have no idea whether they [Cadbury] were influenced by Alexander McQueen but advertising exists in order to be influenced by and ideally influence popular culture," she said. "There is very little in any creative sphere that could be considered entirely original. From time to time, people get upset that one ad is too similar to another. If you look at it another way, it exists as a tribute. There is no copyright in ideas."

Ms Vince added that the timing of the advert – so close to the death of McQueen – may have sparked the passionate response from within the fashion world.

"It's still quite close to McQueen's death and there are quite a lot of people who still feel upset by it," she said. "This advert comes at a time when it's fresh in our minds and we would would perhaps expect this reaction."

McQueen's suicide was announced on 11 February this year. He was found hanged by his housekeeper at his home in London. He died nine days after the death of his mother, Joyce, 75, to whom he was very close. His death devastated the industry; he was a famously modest, well-loved designer and one of the biggest talents in fashion. He had had a stratospheric rise since graduating from Central Saint Martins and working for Givenchy before founding his own labels.

Inspired ads or rip-offs?

* The 118 118 promo was challenged by the British runner Dave Bedford, who claimed that the ad's moustachioed stars were based on his image. He filed a lawsuit against the telephone directory company, arguing it was making money on his image without permission, a claim which was upheld although 118 118 was allowed to continue with the campaign.

* Passion Pictures, which produced the Sony Bravia advert with the colourful bunnies, would have been pleased with the plaudits it received. That is until images of an earlier-made and very similar-looking artwork called Play-Doh by LA illustrators Kozyndan surfaced. Passion Pictures MD Andrew Ruhemann has strenuously denied that his company "ripped off" the image.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star