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J.Lo’s Iconic Jungle Dress at the Heart of Versace’s Fashion Nova Lawsuit

One day, the world will forget about the “iconic” Versace dress Jennifer Lopez wore at the 2000 Grammy Awards and revived in a scene-stealing surprise appearance on the Italian label’s runway during its September Milan show—but thanks to a new court case between the luxury fashion house and fast-fashion brand Fashion Nova, that day will not be today.

On Nov. 25, Versace filed a lawsuit in the Central District of California alleging Fashion Nova has engaged in “brazen” copyright, trademark and trade dress infringement that shows a “willingness to copy…copyrighted designs” in order to release new products with speed.

“Without Versace’s license or consent, and indeed with full knowledge and willful disregard of Versace’s rights, Fashion Nova has manufactured, marketed and sold apparel using the same or substantially similar copyrighted designs and confusingly similar trademarks and trade dress,” Versace’s complaint read. The cheap and chic brand’s low-cost ripoff “is plainly a deliberate effort to exploit the popularity and renown of Versace’s signature designs,” the complaint continued, “and to trade on Versace’s valuable goodwill and business reputation in order to drive profits and sales to line Fashion Nova’s pockets.”

Versace has sued Fashion Nova for copyright infringement, citing numerous infringing products including Jennifer Lopez's famous green dress.
Versace’s designs (top) compared to recent Fashion Nova products (bottom). Courtesy of Court Filing

The Italian firm alleges that Fashion Nova copied both its “Pop Hearts” and “Barocco-57” prints and used them to create gowns that are so similar to its own products as to cause “maximum consumer confusion and deceive the public regarding the Infringing Apparel’s source, sponsorship or affiliation.” Additionally, Versace’s “Greca” link patterns—”among the most well-known designs in the fashion world, and instantly recognizable by consumers as signatures of Versace”—were named in the complaint as another valuable trademark violated by the California quick-turn clothing firm.

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However, the most recognizable infringement occurred when Fashion Nova allegedly copied the famous “Jungle Print” barely-there green dress worn by Jennifer Lopez in 2000 and modeled again, in a sleeveless updated version, this year. Versace said that the fast-fashion brand’s version, a part of its recent Halloween collection, is so similar that “consumers immediately associate it with a single source (Versace).”

Versace has sued Fashion Nova for copyright infringement, citing numerous infringing products including Jennifer Lopez's famous green dress.
Jennifer Lopez in that iconic Versace dress at the 2000 Grammys. Shutterstock

More than a copy of a pattern, the allegedly infringing product sold by Fashion Nova shares the “green tropical leaf and bamboo pattern, plunging neckline extending to the navel, high-cut leg slit, circular brooch where the plunging neckline meets the high-cut leg slit, and long, flowing sleeves” of the original, according to Versace’s complaint.

Versace added to its case by pointing to the numerous lawsuits filed against Fashion Nova for similar infringement, presenting its complaint as a necessary step toward halting harmful copyright infringement practices.

“Nor is this Fashion Nova’s first foray into infringements of fashion designs,” Versace’s complaint read. “Since its launch in 2013, it has been sued at least eight times by other designers (such as Adidas) for the same type of copyright and trademark infringement as Versace asserts here. With this lawsuit, Versace seeks to bring an end to Fashion Nova’s latest brazen attempt at copying the work of yet another famous and world-renowned designer.”