It doesn't seem like Alexander McQueen was trying to be subversive in the use of winged skull imagery. The "death head" symbol, which is the trademark of biker group Hells Angels, appears in some pieces seemingly named with the motorcycling club in mind. McQueen's $495 "Hell's Four-Finger Ring" and $1,565 "Hells Angels Jacquard Box Dress" are cited in a suit the Hells Angels have filed against McQueen, Zappos, and Saks Fifth Avenue for selling such items, which they believe constitute trademark infringement. But the suit's implications run deeper than the legalese — it's also about the bikers' feelings and self-image.
"This isn't just about money, it's about membership," said Hells Angels lawyer Fritz Clapp, a Los Angeles-based biker who sports a red mohawk. "If you've got one of these rings on, a member might get really upset that you're an imposter."
It would suck for them if people thought chicks running around in stiletto ankle booties and miniskirts were one of them, when really they were just wearing the ring to be "edgy" and make other people jealous. The Hells Angels are asking for unspecified damages and the supervised destruction of offending merchandise, which would be a sad thing indeed. However, a trademark-infringement lawyer notes in the Post that "the world is full of skulls," and that it's not so clear that all merchandise in question does in fact pose a legal violation.