SAN FRANCISCO — A sultry ad for a perfume created by Roberto Cavalli has touched a raw nerve with followers of Islamic Sufism, who claim the Italian design house has inappropriately used a symbol sacred to practitioners of their mystical faith.
Commercials for the scent Just Cavalli, featuring the scantily clad daughter of rock star Mick Jagger, have provoked demonstrations outside stores in cities as far flung as San Francisco and Beverly Hills in California and Dusseldorf, Germany. More protests are planned in Chicago and London.
Followers of the M.T.O Shahmaghsoudi School of Islamic Sufism say the logo of the Just Cavalli line resembles a trademarked sacred emblem and they want it removed. The logo in question is a stylized “H” lying on its side. Sufis say it is based on their centuries-old upright symbol of an Arabic word that spells “Allah” and represents peace and harmony.
The Roberto Cavalli company, which has used the logo since 2011, says the symbols are neither similar nor mistakable. Last month, the European Union’s trademark and design authority, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market agreed, and rejected an official request by the Sufis to invalidate the Just Cavalli logo.
Undeterred by the EU decision, Sufi followers have taken matters into their own hands. In recent weeks they stepped up their campaign with a Facebook page, YouTube videos, a #TakeOffJustLogo Twitter drive and a series of demonstrations outside stores selling Cavalli fashion, shoes and other products. — Reuters