From the very first episode, there have been teasing references to knockoffs, including the judges' speculation as to whether contestant Johnny's winning homage to Gianni Versace was a bit too on the money and, in a subsequent week, Johnny's own aside noting that he'd often knocked off the designs of audience member Erin Fetherston. Tonight, the critics of copying finally had the opportunity to sharpen their claws on Johnny's version (below right) of the Spring 2009 one-shoulder Lanvin leopard gown -- a look that not only graced multiple red carpets (including on Maggie Gyllenhaal at the Golden Globes, below left) but also set off a consumer stampede in search of colored animal prints.
To his credit, Johnny had the grace to confess embarrassment at his lapse of memory (or judgment), at least while onstage. And what's the greater crime of fashion -- the lack of integrity evident in stealing another's acclaimed work, or the creation of an unflattering outfit? The judges debated a bit -- but when it comes to copying in the context of a competition, they just weren't buying it. Bravo!