Tory Burch"s ex-husband forced to step down from the board of her fashion empire

Tory Burch's ex-husband forced to step down from the board of her fashion empireInsiders say Chris Burch will no longer co-chair the successful businessMove follows dispute over brand similarities between Tory Burch and Mr Burch's label, C Wonder

Theirs has been a famously tricky relationship, involving an acrimonious divorce, a hugely successful fashion brand and an allegedly similar retail venture.

Now, Chris Burch, 58, has been forced to step down from his role on the board of Tory Burch's company, after allegations that his C Wonder brand was too similar to the double-T-emblemed line.

According to the New York Post, an insider claims that the venture capitalist-turned retail guru is no longer co-chair of his 45-year-old ex-wife's business.

Ms Burch has become famous for the logo with which she adorns her shoes

Christopher Burch Of C. Wonder

It's over: Chris and Tory Burch's marriage ended in 2006. The couple have now parted business ways and no longer work together on the board of Tory Burch

The source said that 'this reflects
how her company has been run since its inception. Chris never had an
office or was involved in the day-to-day running of Tory Burch. While
Chris remains a shareholder and a board member at Tory Burch, Barclays
Capital remains engaged to sell his shares.'

The couple are now said to be working
together to 'avoid more brand confusion', according to the source, and
involving the courts is not an aim of the successful businesswoman.

'She is asking him to change his
concept, which includes C. Wonder’s product, the design and the
boutique. It remains Tory’s intent not to litigate — she is hopeful
he’ll agree to change his concept. Litigation would be the very last
resort.'

The Post reports that Ms Burch, 45, who
recently bought and redecorated a Hamptons mansion, is supportive of her
ex's career 'but she wants him to do something unique and original, not
to knock off her products.'

Chris Burch's C. Wonder logo

The now iconic Tory Burch logo

Copycat The elaborate lettering of Chris Burch's initials looks almost identical in style, many believe, to the now famous mirror image T's of his ex-wife's brand

The move follows a dispute over brand similarities between Tory Burch and C Wonder.

Compounding the proximity of the stores in SoHo, some believe the logo and concepts were a also little too close for comfort.

Mr Burch's new
retail concept, C Wonder, has been under the careful scrutiny of friends of Ms Burch,
who said that he clearly copied many features of his ex-wife's
design aesthetic including the logo.

The venture capitalist has chosen an emblem that some see
as being almost identical to his ex-wife's now
famous mirror image T's.

A friend of Ms Burch told New York Magazine in February: 'Tory knows it, and everyone knows it…

'There’s the snap bracelets. The wallets. The
buttons…'

This is not the first time Mr Burch has experimented with cheaper versions of the preppy, colourful style
that Ms Burch is known for.

Is it any wonder Chris Burch's label has been compared with his ex-wife's but many say he knows enough about the business to have created his own aesthetic

Is it any wonder Chris Burch's label has been compared with his ex-wife's but many say he knows enough about the business to have created his own aesthetic

Burch style Tory Burch's store showcases the preppy, colourful style that some say has been emulated by her ex-husband

Burch style Tory Burch's store showcases the preppy, colourful style that some say has been emulated by her ex-husband

When Mr Burch's then wife decided to launch her own line in 2004, he developed a more affordable offshoot as a safety net.

It was never manufactured due to the
success of the Tory Burch label but those close to the immaculate blonde
designer see C. Wonder as an obvious second attempt to compete with her
brand.

A fellow board member had told the magazine: 'There is
some apparent customer confusion between the two brands. And that’s not
good for anybody.'

Others like PR guru Kelly Cutrone, who is
working with Mr Burch on a collection, argued that a man
who has helped launch nearly 50 brands is fashion savvy enough to take
credit for his own look.

Happier days: The couple before their 2006 divorce are still both board members of Tory Burch

Happier days: The couple before their 2006 divorce are still both board members of Tory Burch

She defended him saying: 'I don’t really get it. Did they trademark lacquer Does Lilly Pulitzer
start calling Tory and saying, “Hey, you’re doing a modernized version
of what I used to do, please stop”

'Does Yves Saint Laurent call and
say, “No, I’m the king of the tunic, I lived in Morocco” Did the
Knights of the Templars call off Christian Dior because he was using
chain mail and that’s they what wore in the Crusades'

She continued, pointing out that: 'Tory
Burch was Tory Robinson when she met Chris Burch. She was a publicist. Now she has a billion-dollar company.

'I don’t
know what the beef is. But I’m hoping he’s able to continue his track
record of turning publicists into billionaires, because I’m next in
line.'

Tory Robinson and Chris Burch married in 1996 and have three sons together. Though their split in 2006 was acrimonious they made amends after a spate of family misfortune.

'You realize the pettiness has to stop,' the popular designer said at the time. 'Now
we’re putting the business and kids first.'