Picasso vs. Lane Bryant

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Fashion designers are welcome to draw inspiration from Pablo Picasso-as long as they keep his name out of the picture. That's what Lane Bryant recently found out. When the Columbus-based retailer named three clothing items after the artist, the company soon found itself in hot water with the Picasso Administration, the organization that manages reproductions and fair use of Pablo Picasso's name and works.

The "Picasso paisley bandeau bra," "Picasso paisley boyshort panty" and "Piscasso embroidered graphic tee" were available until recently on the Lane Bryant website. Although they don't depict Picasso's work, the site's descriptions for the items allude to the artist.

You can't buy these products anymore, though; the Artists Rights Society, which represents the Picasso Administration in the U.S., has seen to that. "The use of the name is unauthorized and violates a number of Picasso's rights," says Artists Rights Society President Theodore Feder. If Lane Bryant had sought authorization for use of Picasso's name, that request "would have been rejected out of hand," says Feder. "It's not the kind of thing the Picasso estate would ever approve."

You can no longer find the items by searching the retailer's website, but at press time they still could be located through a Google search. Items are listed as "completely sold out" on the website. The Artists Rights Society was unaware of the shirt's existence until contacted by Columbus Monthly. Feder says his group wants the items fully removed from Lane Bryant's website.

A Lane Bryant spokesperson says the underwear set is no longer in the store's collection and will not be replenished, but declined to comment further.