Celine Tied To Suit

Celine Dion, or at least her name, has been dragged into a Chinese court, which is hearing a lawsuit brought by internationally renowned fashion brand Louis Vuitton against a Shanghai merchant.

LV is demanding 1 million yuan ($146,000) in damages from shop owner Lin Yi Zhong and his wife for trademark violations, saying that Lin sold knockoffs of its famous accessories.

The fuss started a year ago when Chinese media caught Dion, who was in the midst of a Chinese tour, “shopping” at Lin’s store, on a street just off Shanghai’s main downtown boulevard.

According to various media reports, Dion wasn’t actually carrying any bags when she left Lin’s store but paparazzi took photos later of nine bags of merchandise being delivered to her hotel.

The media reported that these bags were from Lin’s store and that they comprised 50 knock-off products, including copies of LV. Lin’s legal defense centers on the fact that no one actually saw Dion buy anything, and that the whole affair is a “misunderstanding.”

In any event, police eventually raided Lin’s store and did find cupboards full of counterfeit products.

The store owner pleaded guilty to selling those items illegally but maintains that he did not sell any to Dion.

He did, however, tell the singer’s fortune. Lin is apparently an expert in “ren xiang xue,” the art of reading faces, and enjoys a stellar reputation in the field.

Lin said that in exchange for the fortune-telling, Dion, who was accompanied by her mother, gave him five tickets to her Shanghai concert, worth about $2,700.

Apparently, the celebrity connection is important for the plaintiff since it would somehow increase the amount of money Lin, a native of Taiwan, actually makes from the knockoff goods. Without it, the estimated value would be less, meaning the punishment would be less, too.

No one has mentioned that it is highly unlikely that Celine Dion, one of the richest pop artists in the world, would buy counterfeit designer goods.

Nevertheless, the court has not subpoenaed Dion, nor has she made any public comment about the case. The ruling is pending.