Shoji vs. Papell

If you follow me on instagram or twitter you already know that I’ll have the opportunity to take a week-long couture sewing class with Susan Khalje next month.  We’ve been instructed to have a muslin made of our project so Susan can fit us and we can work on the final garment in class.

I knew that I wanted to make a dress to wear to my company Christmas party this year, and when I found this gorgeous Tadashi Shoji dress at Nordstrom, I was immediately inspired to make my own:


Today, I was getting photos to put in my sewing planner when I happened across this little beauty by Adrianna Papell:


Notice any similarities? 

I mean, really!  The Papell dress has a slightly lower neckline, a slimmer belt and matching rather than contrast lining…other than that, they’re identical.  How does that happen?  Are these brands linked and I just don’t know about it?  When does imitation become a problem in the fashion industry?  I couldn’t find anything online about the similarities of these two dresses, but surely someone has noticed.

This has presented me with quite the conundrum.  The Tadashi Shoji dress is over $300, which is why I was planning to make my own version of it.  But the Papell dress is almost half that price.  I seriously doubt I could purchase the fabric I want for much less than the cost of the Adrianna Papell dress. 

So, do I continue with my plan to make a T&C version of this dress even though I could probably buy it for less?  And if I do buy the Adrianna Papell dress for the Christmas party, then what do I make during my week of couture classes with Susan?

I did just buy V8902 and am excited to make it, so I suppose that could be a good project.  And I can always use more work dresses. 


Still, the thought of planning out the Shoji dress with those sheer strips was intriguing, and I’d love to have Susan’s help with techniques that I’ve never used before, like working with lace.  But I feel a little foolish about making an imitation of a dress that I could purchase for less.

I need your input sewcialists!  Please help me decide what to make next month!