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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs live for fans at Enmore Theatre on June 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
music
Sport
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
football
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
film
Life and Style
Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn
tech
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

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Sauce Recruitment: New Media Marketing Manager - EMEA - Digital Distribution

£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn