Steve Madden Issues Public Apology to Stacey Bendet — Now, She’s Asking for a $1 Million Donation

A public spat between Steve Madden and Alice + Olivia founder and CEO Stacey Bendet is showing few signs of dissipating.

On Tuesday night, Madden, who is the founder, creative and design chief of his eponymous footwear and accessories conglomerate, apologized — via news outlet Page Six — for his part in a heated exchange in which he and Bendet traded accusations of copyright infringement. In a now-viral social media video posted to Bendet’s Instagram account, Madden can be heard saying “Honey, if you’re going to be rude, you can go f**k yourself.”

“I’m sorry for losing my temper with Stacey. I have the utmost respect for her. … I was raised better than that,” Madden told Page Six yesterday about the incident..

The dispute appeared to have taken place in a hotel lobby, where Bendet said she was accompanied by her four-year-old daughter when she ran into Madden. Madden, said Bendet, complemented her outfit. Then, she asked him “if he was going to continue to copy it like he did with my trademarked Stace designs,” Bendet’s said in her social media post.

Madden returned the accusation, responding “You copy people all the time. We were making faces way before you.”

Bendet was likely referencing a lawsuit her company filed in 2018 against the Steve Madden-owned Betsey Johnson label for copyright and trademark infringement. Madden had acquired the Betsey Johnson company in 2010. In the 2018 suit, Alice & Olivia accused Betsey Johnson of using Bendet’s signature face, the “StaceFace,” on its bags.

Alice + Olivia Staceface
Alice + Olivia’s “Staceface” design.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

In response to Madden’s apology, Bendet took to her personal Facebook page today and suggested the footwear-industry maven follow up with a $1 million donation to the Council of Fashion Designers of America, of which Bendet is a member.

“So I feel like his ‘apology’ should really include a 1 million dollar donation to the CFDA to create a legal protection fund for designers when their work is copied or trade makes [sic] are violated… thoughts???”

Madden declined FN’s request for comment.

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