Ralph Lauren Accused Of Copying M'sian Designer's Cape For Alicia Keys At The Met Gala

Malaysian couturier Datuk Zang Toi debuted the New York skyscraper cape more than a decade ago in his Spring 2009 collection.

Cover image via Gotham Magazine & New York Post

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Ralph Lauren is being accused of stealing a cape design from Malaysian couturier Datuk Zang Toi, which was worn by songstress Alicia Keys at the Met Gala on Monday, 2 May

Ralph Lauren, which was founded by a fashion designer of the same name in 1967, was the designer behind the multiple Grammy-winning singer's black cape.

It was hand-beaded with 200,000 crystals in the shape of New York City's skyline.

Not only does the silk gazar floor-length cape have a similar New York skyline design as Zang's piece — which he debuted more than a decade ago in his Spring 2009 collection — but it also has the same stylistic cut that makes up the same garment shape.

Other than the colours, the use of more crystals, and the arrangement of the skyscrapers, both capes are so identical that fashion followers thought Keys was wearing Zang at the 'Gilded Glamour'-themed fashion party.

Image via New York Post
Image via New York Post

"I thought that was yours the entire time," said a netizen on Zang's Facebook post about the fashion knock off

"They copied Zang because they know Zang is the most creative unparalleled fashion designer," New York Post quoted another one of Zang's followers as saying.

"I thought it was you, and then they said Ralph, and I was like 'WTF'," added another person.

New York Post reported that Zang designed the cape for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in 2008 and 2015.

In 2010, Malaysian model Ling Tan wore Zang's cape to attend the CFDA Fashion Awards in New York.

Most recently, in February 2020, Zang brought back the cape for the New York Fashion Week.

Zang Toi with Ling Tan at the 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York.

Image via New York Post

The cape made an appearance during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in fall 2015.

Image via New York Post

Zang featured the cape design again two years before the Met Gala during the New York Fashion Week in 2020.

Image via New York Post

"My cape was inspired by my love for my adopted home, New York City," Zang told New York Post, adding that he has received many messages claiming that his design was stolen at the Met Gala

"I came here 41 years ago with USD300 to study at Parsons School of Design and I wanted to show my love and appreciation for the city that embraced me — and allowed me to live the American Dream."

"I decided to bring the iconic hand-beaded New York skyline cape out of the archive — timeless beauty never goes out of style — to pay tribute to my favorite city at my 2020 'New York, New York' runway show," he said, only noting but otherwise not commenting about his stolen haute couture design on Facebook.

The fashion show two years ago was attended by former mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Zang's boutique in Manhattan, New York.

Image via Mattew Furman/Forbes

Zang has an illustrious career in the Big Apple, and he typically dresses A-listers such as Sharon Stone, Patti LaBelle, and Kimberly Guilfoyle.

He was featured on Forbes when he opened his boutique in Manhattan in 2017, with evening gowns starting at a price tag of USD13,000 (about RM56,600).

Speaking of fashion, meet Vanizha Vasanthanathan, a Malaysian model who has made it big on the global stage:

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