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Fashion Victim: Artist Lilian Broca’s Mosaic Imagery Stolen

On 22, Nov 2013 | 6 Comments | In Et cetera | By Nancie


When Dolce & Gabanna debuted their Winter 2014 collection inspired by the Byzantine mosaics of Monreale, Sicily earlier this year, we were enchanted. (See “Mosaic as Fashion’s Muse“)


When photos of pop culture icons Katy Perry (Met Ball)  and Vanessa Hudgens (YouTube Awards) wearing gowns from the collection went viral, we gleefully tweeted and Facebooked.

Photo via

Photo via

If we could afford it, you can be sure that we would be sporting any number of items from this collection. Perhaps one of these gorgeous blouses . . .

Dolce & Gabbana stretch silk blouse $830

Dolce & Gabbana stretch silk blouse $830 via


Dolce & Gabbana stretch silk blouse $925 via

Dolce & Gabbana stretch silk blouse $925 via

So far, so good. Sumptuous Byzantine mosaics are now the darlings of haute couture and pop culture. Being mosaic-centric, we are happy. Successful fashion trends like this often “trickle down” to the mass market. Remember this wonderful scene from The Devil Wears Prada?

Unfortunately, we don’t think that the horrendous blouse below is what Meryl was talking about.

Q E Blouse 1

The photo above was taken in a very chic department story in Istanbul earlier this week. The imagery you see here has been stolen from contemporary mosaic artist Lilian Broca.

Lilian Broca "Queen Esther Holding Evidence of Haman's Guilt" 2002  48 x 32 in

Lilian Broca “Queen Esther Holding Evidence of Haman’s Guilt” 2002 48 x 32 in

This is not the trickle down of a fashion concept. This is theft.  Some designer for a women’s wear manufacturer saw the buzz about Katy and Vanessa in social media and thought, “Aha! If we act fast, this is a trend we can make money from. I’ll just start googling Byzantine mosaic.”  And voila, we have the abdomen covering abomination above and the equally hideous rip-off below.

Q E Blouse 2

Lilian Broca "Queen Esther Revealing Her True Identity"  2006 48 x 33 in.

Lilian Broca “Queen Esther Revealing Her True Identity” 2006 48 x 33 in.

With a little googling of our own, we quickly found several dresses for sale on line made from a fabric with a mosaic “mash up” pattern that included figures from another one of the Queen Esther works.

Copy of Dress

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 12.45.39 PM

Lilian Broca "Haman Leading Mordechai on the Royal Horse" 2006 70 x 33

Lilian Broca “Haman Leading Mordechai on the Royal Horse” 2006 70 x 33

In this case, the fabric’s designer actually swapped out Haman’s head for that of Mordechai – an aesthetic choice we are a bit baffled by. Bad taste aside, it is, again, theft. And, if we looked long enough, we could probably find the work of still more contemporary mosaic artists in this mish-mosh of a print.

It took Lilian Broca over five years to make the 10 mosaics in The Queen Esther Series which covers the Biblical thriller about a Hebrew beauty contest winner who conceals her religion, becomes a queen and, through the courageous use of her womanly wiles, saves her people from a massacre sanctioned by her husband. Individual works have garnered international awards including a Gold Medal from the 2003 Florence Biennale and a place in MAN’s Exhibition in Print 2011. Famed feminist artist Judy Chicago wrote the forward to a book about the mosaics – “The Hidden and the Revealed: The Queen Esther Mosaics of Lilian Broca” and a documentary about Broca’s life –  ”Return to Byzantium: The Art and Life of Lilian Broca” – has received critical acclaim.

This is not the first time that Broca has had her work appropriated. She is understandably frustrated and angry.

In the past I have seen my mosaics reproduced badly and cheaply by unscrupulous companies in 3rd world countries. This time the designs were stolen and printed on clothes. It pains me to great lengths to see my art reduced to decorative patterns on mass produced fabrics intended for wear. As artists, have we no recourse?

As far as we can see – apparently not. International laws on artist’s rights are, at best, flimsy and Broca does not have the resources of a Louis Vuitton or Jeff Koons.  It’s just a damned shame.


  • Lilian Broca’s website
  • Lilian Broca in MAN’s Exhibition in Print 2011 here
  • Review of “The Hidden and the Revealed: The Queen Esther Mosaics of Lilian Broca” on MAN here
  • Order “The Hidden and the Revealed: The Queen Esther Mosaics of Lilian Broca” here
  • Return To Byzantium website


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  1. Marilyn Mylrea

    Hi Lilian,

    It is absolutely appalling that a creative fashion design company would sink to this level and steal your beautiful art creations. Fashion is also about beauty, art and creativity and they should (above all others)know and respect artists without the need to take from others. I am very sorry that you have experienced this disrespectful rip off. Shame on them and I sincerely hope that you take legal action. I also hope that we all ban their stores until they have apologized and made retribution.

    Good luck and may God’s blessings bring justice.

    Best Wishes,

    Marilyn S. Mylrea

  2. Ted Clarke

    I am Lilian’s photographer, and we have discussed the theft of images in the past.
    We are all upset and angry about the theft of images, but until the public stops buying these ripoffs it will only continue. There are a certain group of people that think it is Ok to steal imagery and then reproduce for profit. I am sure that if it happened to their original artwork they would be the first to complain. As a society we most step up to the plate and stop all reproduction theft by not purchasing the stolen imagery. We need to make an example out of all the sites that are selling ripoffs. It is a big problem, but we must start to humiliate these groups and show the world what they really are – “Thiefs” and all should be prosecuted.

  3. Michael Kruzich

    This makes me sick. I know Lilian and I am so frustrated for her.

  4. art ross

    I feel sorry that the fruit of all your hard work,dedication,research,inspiration and perspiration over the years have been stolen. I can see you feeling cheated and even violated.
    I am no lawyer but there must be some law preventing people from taking (stealing)other peole’s work and benefiting from it. Every time a song is played on the radio somewhere a royalty is paid to the original artist.
    Looking for a silver lining there might be some satisfaction in knowing that people have thught so highly of your work that they took it.
    I hope somehow justice is served and you are given the credit and recognition you deserve.

  5. Terry

    This is a total abomination and insult to all that Ms Broca has done. I wish I were a lawyer.

    • Marla

      I agree with Terry. People need to stop stealing other peoples creative works. Shame on them.

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