Karen Millen girls are discerning and loyal. They want to feel special and different from everyone else.
They love their branding and detail and -- according to her senior knitwear designer -- if anyone turned up at a party wearing a Dunnes Stores top similar in design, she would go home. No question about it.
Ian Galvin couldn't agree more. Mosaic's chairman and vbf to the Taoiseach's ex-wife, Miriam Ahern, Galvin arrived in the Commercial Court yesterday draped in a black and white silk scarf, weaved through his charcoal grey waistcoat, and wearing no less than two designer watches on his wrist.
All around him, Miu Miu and Longchamp handbags littered the floor as former Justice Minister Michael McDowell swapped crime for knitwear in an unprecedented row over an alleged designer 'rip-off'.
Yesterday, fashion hit the Four Courts in a multi-million stand-off between retailing giants Dunnes Stores and Mosaic Fashions, whose subsidiaries Karen Millen, Coast and Whistles are suing the secretive Irish company over an alleged 'rip-off' of their designer clothes.
The case is the first of its kind in Ireland since the introduction of an EU directive that gives designers automatic protection for their unregistered designs, and revolves around three garments that Mosaic believes Dunnes has copied.
Mosaic is not simply seeking damages. Instead it is seeking an account of profits made by Dunnes Stores for the sale of the disputed designs, which could cost the company millions.
Lycra, viscose and plunging necklines with ribs to enhance busts may be a tall order for the all-male cast of barristers, including Arnotts chairman Richard Nesbitt, who have been deployed to fight the case.
But the outcome of the litigation could have a major impact on the way in which high-street stores conduct their business and flatter their fashion elders by replicating their designs.
Design rights can be both registered and unregistered. An unregistered design right is similar to copyright in that it is an automatic right. No registration process is required and the law prevents unauthorised copying of an original design.
But the unregistered design right, which protects unregistered designs for a period of three years, is only a recent legal innovation, and since a new EU-wide Community Unregistered Design Right (UDR) came into force, designers have fled to the courts to clamp down on alleged "interpretations" of catwalk trends by high-street retailers.
Before 2002, designers were forced to sue for copyright. But laws only protected designs with "artistic craftsmanship", applying to haute couture or highly crafted pieces.
The Dunnes Stores litigation is Ireland's first brush with the unregistered design rights directive. The stakes, much like the fashion, are high-end.