'Blood brother' out of fashion

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 February, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 February, 2001, 12:00am

Italian fashion company Gianni Versace SpA is challenging a claim that its late founder had a blood brother named Alfredo.

Lawyers for the Milan fashion house, in a High Court writ filed on Friday, said Venus De Chine Marketing Ltd and one Helen Law Wing-mei were falsely claiming someone named Alfredo Versace is the 'blood brother' of Gianni Versace. The writ does not say where Venus is based or what relationship Alfredo and Law have to that company.

Gianni Versace, 50, was gunned down at his Miami Beach mansion on July 15, 1997. US police launched a nationwide hunt for his presumed killer, Andrew Cunanan, who killed himself eight days later. The fashion designer is survived by a brother, Santo, and a sister, Donatella.

In the writ, the fashion house alleges Venus and Law are passing off fakes as genuine Versace. The fakes include watches, jewellery, leather goods, toiletries, clothing, bed linen, umbrellas and tobacco, the writ says.

The plaintiff is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction to stop Venus and Law from using the word 'Versace' on products it makes, markets, distributes or licenses others to make, market or distribute. Also being sued is Globe Legend Ltd for allegedly passing off its watches as Versace products.

The plaintiff wants the court to order the delivery or destruction of all infringing goods. It is also seeking an account of profits the defendants made from their operations, to assist in the assessment of damages.