Guide #3: Side-by-side comparison of counterfeit to authentic DvF wrap
I hope to ensure that the Diane von Furstenberg that you buy is the authentic, high-quality, gorgeous piece that it should be!
I do not represent the brand in any way and this guide is based on personal experience as a collector and buyer of these wonderful clothes. Disclaimer: This guide is written without the permission or authority of DvF and they can not vouch for the information contained herein.
I am a DvF-focused personal shopper and buy directly from the DvF shops for my clients, so I am up-to-date on each collection and can spot fakes on eBay very quickly. Let's be clear: I do not work for DvF and am not associated with Diane von Furstenberg Studios LLP or DvF herself , but I am a personal shopper who buys mainly from this designer for my clients. This guide is based on my extensive experience buying DvF and include tidbits and tips I have learned from the DvF shopgirls.
In response to my first two How to Spot a Fake guides (http://reviews.ebay.com/How-to-spot-fake-Diane-von-Furstenberg-dresses-on-eBay_W0QQugidZ10000000000127757 and http://reviews.ebay.com/List-of-the-latest-DvF-wraps-how-to-spot-a-fake-part-2_W0QQugidZ10000000000949772), here is some more info on How to Spot a Counterfeit DvF (Part 3), hopefully BEFORE you buy it!
I. What to do when counterfeiters copy the print spot-on or even use the actual DvF fabric -- how you can still identify a fake from an authentic DvF
Most of the time, counterfeits are poorly done and the prints don't even match the real DvF. For example:
Taffy -- The first ones sold on eBay had the wrong eyelet pattern! The real Taffy had irregularly spaced eyelet holes, not a repeated, symmetrical ring around a center axis. Now, however, they've learned and are copying the fabric more accurately, but I have seen that the eyelet holes on some are still too large, about 1 in inchead of 1 cm opening.
Western Python -- The ones on eBay are missing the subtle spotting detail on the dark patches of the print. The fakes look more like a stone wall print!
Tie Dye -- The counterfeits have round-edge spots, instead of irregularly bordered spots. Think of a real tie dye print: the edges of color are not perfectly rounded. Instead, the colors seep into the white areas irregularly.
Coral -- ugly, straight stick-like branches instead of the natural curves and bumps of a coral patch's branches
Footprints -- counterfeits are missing the thin grey lines between the footprints
Bosphorous -- way too much teal in the coloring
Seafoam Band -- just wrong all around: pink flowers too big, black between the stripes is solid on the real print, mini-leo print stripe prints also not right on the copied print
Sometimes, though, counterfeiters do a GREAT job of copying the DvF fabric, so you need to look for other signs. One area that can give away the item as being a counterfeit is the neckline tag. Counterfeiters will take whatever typed 'DIANE von FURSTENBERG' tags are available to them and stick it on a dress. Therefore, knowing the right tags an item should have can help you identify a potential forgery. Figure out if the authentic item us supposed to:
(A) have a white size tag at the neckline that also indicates country of manufacture and fabric content tag under the standard 'DIANE von FURSTENBERG' tag
have a small square tag, either black or white, with only the size indicated while the fabric contact tag is on a different part of the dress
(B) have been manufactured in China versus India versus Korea versus US versus Poland
(C) have the pink 'Vintage' script on its tag or not
(D) have the AUTHENTIC 'Vintage' script tag
Just this weekend, I was received a counterfeit DvF (the seller claims that she was unaware it was a fake and has agreed to refund me). The photos shown with the listing are convincing, and it IS difficult to tell if the fabric will be right from a picture. Once I had it in my hand, it was clear and easy to tell that it was a fake since it felt nothing like the soft, supple silk jersey DvF uses. I managed to find the real deal over the weekend, but it was 3x the price in the eBay listing. Lesson learned! However, now that I had both a real AND fake version in my hand, I figured I'd share my head-to-head comparisons with you:
 Counterfeit on the left, Authentic on the right.
The real one has the interior label indicating style&name (the little white tag on the left ribcage). The real one was more of an off-white and black. The fake was a horrific polyester material.
 The fake did not have the silky interior hang straps (A) used to keep a dress from slipping off the hanger (in the real DvF, you can see the entire left strap, black, and just the end of the right strap, the remainder of which is in the sleeve in my photo). The fake also had two seams on the back panel (B), and had seams from the armpit out to the bust. That is not found on an authentic Jeanne wrap. Again, the fake was missing the style name&number tag (C).
 The stitching on the collar of the fake was shoddy; compare that with the hidden/invisible stitches on the real DvF.
 The tags were the biggest giveaway and I should have listened to by own advice and gotten more photos before buying! The fake tag simply looks wrong -- the 'Vintage' script is too dark -- and the back is all black thread. The fabric content tag is also wrong -- authentic silk jersey items by DvF have '100% silk' on the tag, whereas the fakes say '100% silk jersey' instead!
Feel free to email me for larger photos of all these details. Anyway, I hope these tips will help others steer clear of the cheap fakes. As always, if someone is selling fakes, first follow eBay protocol for resolving the problem. If the seller will not cooperate with you or, as I have experienced, eBay does not stop the seller from listing more fakes, you can always contact DvF themselves and ask to be put in touch with their legal department. I can't guarantee that they will be able to intervene, but I have been told that their legal representatives is working on the issue and are probably open to real leads regarding someone suppliers and importers of fake DvF clothing. My biggest advice here is to be careful, ask questions, and do your research!
Some other general rules of thumb regarding tags:
*Wool and rayon items are made almost exclusively in the US. US-manufactured DvFs should have the small square BLACK size tag at the neckline. There is usually a separate tag (larger, about the size of a large postage stamp) on the left seam indicating fabric content, country of manufacture (USA) and something like Diane von Furstenberg Studios, with their NYC address.
Thus, the wool items you see with the white tags are 99.9% likely to be fakes, especially those which indicate a lining where there is none present!
*Many cotton items are made in India and India-manufactured DvFs should have the white size tag, about the size of a large postage stamp, at the neckline and say 100% cotton with Made in India on the line below it, and the size underneath that.
The eyelet Taffy dresses, the Artichoke print and the Mimosa Aubrey are all 100% cotton and should have this other tag. Thus, any of those on eBay without the correct tags are 99.9% likely to be fakes, even though the prints look very much like the real ones!
*Only certain prints have the pink 'Vintage' indication. These prints are from the lines where DvF is reissuing one of their classic prints in either new color combinations or in the original color combinations. I've noticed that DvF recently changed this tag just a bit so that the pink 'Vintage' is smaller than on the original tags, so do expect to see two slightly different tags BUT the script should never be fuchsia but rather a bright, bubblegum pink.
The Nets Brown, Nets Daffodil, Racing Leaf Green, Racing Leaf Yellow, LilyPad Green, LilyPad Coral and Chain Link prints were not issued as part of the Vintage Reissue collection for this spring, so all the dresses you see in those prints should NOT have the pink 'Vintage'. Thus, most of what you see currently on eBay are 99.9% likely to be fakes, even though the prints look very much like the real ones!
*Be sure to read fabric content detail. Tags which indicate a lining, when there is no lining in the item, probably don't belong on that dress! Some tags may indicate a lining, but make sure it indicates the correct material that DvF uses for the lining. At times, a dress may have a lining, but the tags may not include that detail. You can always ask the DvF shop what the tag looks like if they have the item in stock.
*Last year, all the stretch viscose wraps (super-soft finish, like the Zebra Jane, Cheetah Jane, Bamboo Willow, Yellow Flower Willow and Sahara Red Justin) were made in Korea, so the label stated 'Made in Korea'. I have not see any stretch viscose items yet this year, but I will update this info if I see anything and let you know where they are being made.
*The resort collection from January 2006 had a different tag than the usual white 'Made in China' tags. These were shinier (like satin ribbon, is how I'd describe it) and longer than the usual little white tags. I have not seen these tags again, but be alerted that the silk jersey wraps in Tye Dye Pool, Tye Dye Rose, Coral Dust, and Coral Coral (also called Coral Pink) should have these slightly different tags. That particular Resort Collection was counterfeited a lot, so just make sure you item is silk jersey if it is a wrap -- theses were NOT made of chiffon!
**If in doubt, simply call any DvF shop and see if they can describe what the tag SHOULD look like on the authentic version of the item in question. They'll usually be able to look for you if the item is in their store. Or you can email me and I will try my best to help you figure it out.**
II. US-made silk jersey wraps versus China-made silk jersey wraps
I was recently asked by more than one person about the US-made silk jersey wraps. Yes, they ARE different than the China-made ones. This is what I have found to be the general rules of thumb:
(A) The US-made wraps have the black size tag at the neckline. I have not found them to always have the large white side seam tags, though, even though many US-made items have the white tag around the left ribcage with the DvF Studio's address and fabric content of the dress written on it.
(B) The US-made wraps tend to be longer than the China-made wraps. I would say that a US-made Julian wrap tends to be 2 to 3 inches longer than a China-made Julian wrap.
(C) The edges and hems are finished differently in the US-made wraps. You'll see a more simple, almost basted, stitch on the hem of the US-made wraps; you will also often find this type of hem finish on the US-made rayon dresses, too. China-made wraps have the thicker, heavier hem finish. The simpler stitch finish is also apparent along the neckline of the US-made wraps, where the edge of the material is folded over and stitched. There is often a border of about 1 inch of fabric on US-made wraps, while the China-made wraps are folded, double stitched, and cut, leaving a border of about less than 1cm of printed fabric.
I will ask a seamstress friend as to the technical terms for the different finishes and also try to add photos to illustrate.
If the buyer is guaranteeing authenticity and you're still doubtful, be sure to contact them before auction end and make sure that they will also refund your postage costs if they turn out to be selling counterfeit DvFs. Once you receive the item, you can fax or email photos of the item and its various tags (not the paper hang tag that is tied to it, but the ones sewn in) to a DvF shop and get them to verify if your item is real or not. If you want to run the photos by me first, I'd be glad to help, if I can. But remember, if you need to make a legal case against a seller, I am not going to be the final authority. You will have to get a DvF-affiliated person to give the final opinion on authenticity.
I hope this guide provides more useful information to help make your online purchasing safer and worry-free. If I think of any other helpful advice, I will add to this guide or write yet another guide for you fellow DvF fans. If you see anything that I've left out or may be inaccurate, let me know! I do not claim to be the all-knowing authority on DvFs, but I try to help the best I can.
As always, feel free to look at photos of these dresses in my blog (dvfs.blogspot.com), where you can also find out more info about styles, fit and availability. Happy shopping!!