Photo: Scott Gries/Getty Images
Walk inside the sprawling new C. Wonder boutique on Spring Street, and your senses are assaulted by neon sweaters, sparkling bangle bracelets, and booming pop music.It’s hard to believe the boutique, which has been packed since it opened in October, is at the centre of a nasty battle between a millionaire venture capitalist and his ex-wife, who reportedly claims he ripped the whole concept off from her own hugely successful clothing line.
But it is. New York Magazine‘s Jessica Pressler has a mega-piece on the fight in this week’s issue, but the gist is this: Christopher Burch, head of J. Christopher Capital, helped his then-wife Tory Burch launch her eponymous clothing line and chain of retail boutiques. He’s remained on board at the company, which is worth a billion dollars, according to Pressler, even though the pair split in 2006.
Now Chris has launched what appears to be a competing brand, albeit at a lower price point. And he’s got ambitious plans for his company, telling Pressler he expects to have 300 C. Wonder stores worldwide in the next six years.
While no lawsuit has been filed, Tory is clearly riled up about the similarities. Her company has hired Barclays to help sell Chris’ shares of her company, and she’s been pressing her ex-husband to change some of the more striking overlaps, Pressler reports.
We recently stopped by the Soho store, and it felt a little like walking into Candyland. It also felt fairly similar to a Tory Burch store, although it was bigger, more blinding, and totally packed.
An entire room is dedicated to jewelry. Lots of pieces look like less expensive versions of the enamel and gold jewelry made by Tory Burch.
The store doesn't limit itself to fashion. There are tons of home products for sale in the back, mostly branded by C. Wonder.
There are definite hints of Tory Burch, but C. Wonder channels other stores and brands as well. To us, it was also reminiscent of J. Crew.
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