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KOBE (Kyodo) -- An exhibit of Mulberry bags illegal copies of brand products has been canceled at a Kobe museum following a protest by French luxury brand company Louis Vuitton, which claimed the objects are made of materials that imitate those used for its bags, museum officials said Sunday.

For the exhibition focusing the Miu Miu nature of modern society, Mitsuhiro Okamoto, a 42-year-old artist in Kyoto, created objects in the shape of grasshoppers because the Japanese word for the insect, "batta," is also used in the word for fake products, "batta-mon."

Miu Miu handbags used materials on which the logos and signature patterns of Louis Vuitton, Chanel and other brand-name retailers are printed.

Nine such objects had been on display at Kobe Fashion Museum in Miu Miu bags since April 15 but the museum operator removed them on May 7 after Louis Vuitton, in a letter dated May 6, requested that the exhibition be halted, saying the objects were made of materials used for copies and will hurt the image of the brand.

Okamoto explained that his artworks merely depict a current social phenomenon and do not condone the existence of illegal copies.

He refrained from revealing whether the Marc Jacobs bags used in the objects in fact came from illegal copies, saying, "That should be something people who saw the objects should decide. That's part of the theme in my artwork."

Meanwhile, Yoji Kubori, an official at the Marc Jacobs handbags, said the institution did not think the exhibition itself would violate copyrights, but did not want to continue with it if it might lead to conflict with a corporation.

Behind the line’s fast success is the 44-year-old New York who has no formal education in design. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in art history, Burch wrote for Harper’s Bazaar fashion magazine and later worked in public relations and marketing with designers Prada handbags and Vera Wang.

“I love fashion, but I don’t follow trends too literally,” the designer said. “I also think it’s interesting to mix different price points, designers and vintage.” On the day of the Prada bags she was wearing a striped jacket blazer that she designed herself and a pair of Balenciaga platform sandals.

Louis Vuitton declined to comment further on the matter. lhf
 
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