Miley Cyrus

AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

Why does Miley's Oscar gown look really familiar?
—Pali, Delhi

You speak of Miley Cyrus' sparkling tribute to the mighty Neptune, king of the sea. Fashion insiders are buzzing that it looks just a leeeetle too much like an iconic Dior gown from 1949 called the Junon. Whether it teeters closer to homage or tips all the way over into ripoff territory, well, that's a matter for debate.

Just how similar are these dresses? Well...

"You could argue that it isn't [a ripoff], because the original gown is strapless," says onetime Project Runway contender and fashion designer Nick Verreos, who pointed out the similarity to me. "But I was surprised at just how similar the beading and shaping of the skirt was. If it was just a train, or just the back..."

In the past, designers have sued each other, but only when one used an exact pattern or print copyrighted by another. Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld forgave Courtney Love a few years back after she wore a knockoff of one of his gowns to Paris Hilton's birthday party.

And what of Zuhair Murad, who created Miley's gown? When he first debuted it on the runways in January, neither he nor any other major fashionista bothered to call out the similarities between Murad's gown and the Junon. If Murad had wanted to credit Dior as an inspiration, maybe gush something about homage or employ some other French word, that would have been the time.

When contacted by me about the similarity, a publicist for Murad said, "Zuhair is aware of the similarity of this gown. He is constantly inspired by Christian Dior, and this gown, in particular, re-creates the look of the Dior gown using today's technology."

You tell me in the comments section below: Homage or all-out theft?

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