Ex-Hermes workers risk prison over fake handbags

The trial of a large traffic of fake Hermes by organized gangs between 2013 and 2014, several of which are former workers for Hermès, will take place in Paris on June 24, 2020. (AFP/Stephanie De Sakutin)
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Updated 26 June 2020

Ex-Hermes workers risk prison over fake handbags

  • An inquiry uncovered a clandestine operation in which the suspects at their homes allegedly crafted dozens of counterfeit “Birkin” bags
  • Ten people went on trial this week, including seven former Hermes employees

PARIS: Paris prosecutors sought prison terms Friday for the leaders of a ring accused of making and selling fake handbags from iconic French luxury house Hermes, including some former employees.
The network, which targeted Asian tourists in Paris but also clients in Hong Kong in 2013 and 2014, was uncovered when French police wiretapped the home of a man suspected of selling stolen handbags in Asia.
An inquiry uncovered a clandestine operation in which the suspects at their homes allegedly crafted dozens of counterfeit “Birkin” bags, the most coveted — and profitable — item produced by Hermes.
Named for French-British actress Jane Birkin, the bags have long waiting lists for customers ready to pay 40,000 euros ($45,000) or more for versions made with crocodile skin.
Ten people went on trial this week, including seven former Hermes employees.
Prosecutors said they took in around two million euros a year by selling the fakes for 20,000 euros to 30,000 euros each.
The Hermes workers would make the bags with crocodile skins from an Italian supplier, using zippers and other components smuggled out of Hermes workshops.
A woman now aged 52, born in Cambodia but living in France since 1980, was tasked with selling the fake bags as well as genuine “Birkins” resold to clients at a markup.
She told investigators her clients knew that they were buying fakes, the court heard this week.
One of the employees, accused of orchestrating the counterfeiting ring, was just 18 when he began working at Hermes.
“At the time, I didn’t realize the seriousness of this,” the now 45-year-old told the court.
As the trial wound up Friday, prosecutors sought prison terms of up to four years and fines of 100,000 euros to 200,000 euros for the three ringleaders, and suspended sentences and fines for the others.
Hermes lawyers have also asked for two million euros in damages. The court is expected to announce a date for its ruling later Friday.


British-Pakistani actress Jameela Jamil stuns in yet another Lebanese label

Updated 22 June 2020

British-Pakistani actress Jameela Jamil stuns in yet another Lebanese label

DUBAI: Jameela Jamil has a well-known penchant for Arab designers. The British-Pakistani-Indian actress and activist has been pictured donning looks from regional labels on plenty of occasions, including designs by Rami Kadi and Georges Chakra, to name a few.

This week, the actress who is known for her role as Tahani on NBC’s “The Good Life,” was spotted wearing a ballgown from Lebanese couture duo Azzi & Osta in the most recent episode of “Legendary.”

The 34-year-old posted a series of BTS snaps on Instagram of herself, and her fellow “Legendary” co-judges Leiomy Maldonado, Megan Thee Stallion and Law Roach, who were all dressed in extravagant ensembles.

For her part, Jamil wore a smoke-colored asymmetrical sleeveless gown that was embellished with gold beads. The dress was cinched at the waist and featured a billowing skirt. She accessorized the look with a gold dramatic headpiece and matching thick bangles around her wrists. 

As for her makeup, it was equally as dramatic. The body-positive activist channeled a modern day Cleopatra by way of an extreme, winged-out glitter cat-eye.

Jamil isn’t the first – and certainly won’t be the last A-lister – to choose  a look from the Beirut-based label.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Janina Gavankar in AZZI & OSTA Couture AW 19/20 to the premiere of “The Way Back” | Los Angeles, USA

A post shared by AZZI & OSTA (@azziandosta) on

Beloved by the likes of actress Janina Gavankar and singer Lily Allen, the couture house has a loyal celebrity clientele who flock to their designs for red carpet events and special appearances.

Memorably, international superstar Beyonce turned heads in a black silk crepe and velvet number by Azzi and Osta for the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala in 2018. 

Beyonce wearing a black silk crepe and velvet number by Azzi and Osta for the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala in 2018. 

Hosted by Wesley, “Legendary” welcomes 8 “houses,” or teams of ballroom performers, to flaunt their mastery of voguing and styling to win the $100,000 grand prize and official “legendary” status.

When the initial press release for the HBO Max show incorrectly announced that Jamil would both judge and emcee, Twitter users immediately questioned her validity as an authority in ball culture. The actress was quick to clarify that she is only sitting on the panel of judges, not hosting, and wants to use her platform to shed light on a community that she has admired for years.