Dana Thomas' highly recommended book Deluxe documented well the continually escalating war between the purveyors of luxury goods and those seeking to counterfeit them. Brands like Louis Vuitton are particularly up against it as the quality of the genuine article and that of fake products are nearly at parity. For the rest, authenticity documents are one method frequently used—and it seems frankly a bit silly: It's hard to imagine that anyone with the ability to manufacture shoes, sunglasses or handbags would really have all that much trouble cranking out gold-embossed cards. It also doesn't help that if you buy genuine, real, bona fide Tom Ford sunglasses from a reputable retailer like Neiman Marcus, they will come in beautiful packaging with a woven envelope containing a genuine, real, bona fide authenticity card that reads:

Congratulations you have chosen a really authentic Tom Ford product.

The presence of a clumsy Italian-to-English translation would seem less reassuring than not including an authenticity card in the first place.

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