'I don't recognise my brand anymore': Shoe designers Sigerson and Morrison's heartache after being fired and sued for $2m by their own label
Founders Kari Sigerson and Miranda Morrison must watch from the sidelines as the brand shows at New York Shoe Expo this week
The women were fired by their once-trusted financial backer Marc Fisher
17:44 GMT, 2 August 2012
Kari Sigerson and Miranda Morrison were once the toast of the fashion industry.
But the two New York designers who launched Sigerson Morrison, the shoe line, in 1991, have been fired from their namesake brand and are currently being sued for almost $2million by their own financial backer.
Despite their departure, their once-trusted business partner Marc Fisher, who has his own namesake shoe line, continues to churn out collections of footwear under the two women's names.
New frontier: Designers Kari Sigerson (left) and Miranda Morrison (right) were ousted from their shoe line Sigerson Morrison. They are now being sued by their financial backer for failing to deliver a final shoe collection
The two women, who were fired from their own label just over a year ago, are being sued in New York State Court for allegedly failing to deliver a collection of shoes on time.
Ms Sigerson, who met Ms Morrison in 1987 when the pair were studying at the Fashion Institute Of Technology, told The New York Times: 'It's like 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'… I went into Barneys, and I didn't even recognize them [the shoes].'
The new-look brand is showing at New York's Shoe Expo this week under the direction of Mr Fisher.
The two designers were terminated after tension between the women and Mr Fisher, who is the son of Nine West founder Jerome Fisher, allegedly reached boiling point.
New look: The shoes continue to be manufactured under the direction of Marc Fisher's in-house design team
Old look: The designer's own designs, including the two above, were highly coveted by the Hollywood A-list
The pair had not only suspected that Mr
Fisher was copying their designs and creating them as part of his own
budget line, but they were also allegedly infuriated over his decision
to uproot their line's manufacturing out of Italy and into China.
Of course, the shoes were undoubtedly among the most in-demand on the market when the women had their way.
A pair of Sigerson Morrison white ankle boots were worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in 2008's first Sex And The City film.
Actresses Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Hillary Duff and Rachel Bilson were also spotted in various designs over the years.
Ms Morrison said that Julia Roberts had visited her store and that Ms Theron 'would buy 20 pairs at a time with her mom'.
Celebrity fans: The line was so popular when the women were designing for it that a pair of white ankle boots were worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in 2008's Sex And The City film (left). Charlize Theron (right) was also a fan
Foolishly, the women signed away their intellectual-property rights to their own names when Mr Fisher paid $2.6million in 2006 for the company.
Although it was legally renamed Fisher Sigerson Morrison at the time, the label stayed the same and the two women each retained a ten per cent stake in the company.
They were named co-heads of design and given an annual salary of $350,000 each.
On March 10, 2011, the designers were given letters of termination as their email accounts were cut off.
But as Mr Fisher seeks damages of almost $2million, the designers are fighting their own legal battle against the businessman.
two women have filed a countersuit, seeking $6million in damages and
have alleged that Mr Fisher had sexually harassed them on numerous
occasions, thus creating a hostile workplace.
Moving on: The line is being showed at this week's New York Shoe Expo. Resort 2013 designs are seen above
Court papers state that Mr Fisher once stared down the back of Ms Sigerson's clothes 'so lewdly' that Susan Itzkowitz, the president of the company, said out loud that he required sexual harassment training.
The designers added that the delay in the shoe collection was caused by a problem with factory samples, was not their fault and that Mr Fisher had agreed to hold the collection.
Mr Fisher has been accused of knocking off designs in the past.
In May, Gucci won a case that accused Marc Fisher Footwear of copying its signature G logo for designs within the Guess stable.
Marc Fisher Footwear has been ordered to pay $456,183 in damages.
Last December, Ivanka Trump Footwear, which is also produced by Mr Fisher, was accused of copying Derek Lam's platform sandal.
Mr Fisher denied the claim.