WSVN — She is a swimwear designer. So excited to be in a New York fashion show, she designed a new line for the event and then, not only was she kicked out, the organizer would not return her fee. Can he do that? It’s a battle over bikinis in tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Risque Dukes is a swimwear designer with her own brand.

Risque Dukes: “I have the responsibility and the challenge and task of making women feel comfortable in as little clothes as possible.”

It’s obviously easy for Risque’s tall, thin models to feel comfortable in her newest bikinis.

But Risque’s goal is to create swimwear for women of all sizes.

Risque Dukes: “I have high waisted. I have one size fit all tops. I have one piece bikinis where everything is covered up, like your stomach.”

Risque is enthusiastic, ambitious and working hard to expand her company, which is why she paid $600 to enter the Small Boutique Fashion Show in New York City on Valentines Day.

Risque Dukes: “Because he gave me the hope that participating in his show would skyrocket my company and it would launch my line and my line would be in stores.”

Four days before the event, the creator of the fashion show sent her photographs of the 40 models who would be available to walk down the aisle in her swimwear. She was told to pick 10 of them.

Risque Dukes: “I need full body shots if I am going to successfully cast these girls. He didn’t like the way I was questioning his production and the way he does things and he told me he would be the only diva in his show.”

Risque says the coordinator then told her he was kicking her out of the show and he would refund her $600 entry fee.

Risque Dukes: “So I said, ‘OK, go ahead and refund me my money.’ There was a moment of silence and then he hung up in my face.”

The Small Boutique Fashion Week Show went on without Risque, devastating her.

Risque Dukes: “I didn’t know what to do. I cried for two days.”

Risque still went to New York and was able to display her swimwear in another show but she still wanted to get her $600 back from the small boutique show.

Risque Dukes: “I want him to do the professional thing and refund the money.”

Well Howard, can the fashion show block Risque from the event and still keep her money?

Howard Finkelstein: “It depends on what the law calls Anticipatory Breach of Contract. In other words, if Risque threatened to disrupt their show, they have a right to kick her out and keep her money. But if they simply didn’t like her attitude, they have to return her money.”

I contacted Preston Walker, the founder of Small Boutique Fashion Week. He sent me a detailed three-page email explaining that he has had 250 designers in his shows and never had to kick one out till Risque. He said, “she was not professional, often threatening and extremely demanding.” For example, wanting to show 30 outfits instead of the 10 his rules allow.

When I mentioned she said he had told her he was the only diva in the show, he replied, “She was one with the extreme diva attitude.”

He added he wasn’t going to return Risque’s $600 entry fee because the rules clearly state all payments are non-refundable under any circumstances.

Risque’s reply? All his accusations are absurd and just not true.

Howard Finkelstein: “To get her money back, Risque would probably have to sue the company in New York. For $600, it’s just not worth it.”

Risque Dukes: “We are in our selfie age. Can you imagine taking a selfie and posting it everywhere?”

Patrick Fraser: “Not me, no.”

Not being allowed in the fashion show may have made Risque cry, but it certainly did not affect her confidence.

Risque Dukes: “Risque Dukes brand will be a national brand. We will be worldwide.”

Patrick Fraser: “OK. Good luck. Now, Risque has another way to get her money back. She paid the $600 thru PayPal. She has filed a claim with them to try to get the money returned and it’s a reminder, pay for something with a credit card if you can because you can dispute the charges if something goes wrong and often get the money back.”

Skimpy choices in solutions to your problems? Wish things would go swimmingly? Contact us. You don’t want to see Howard and I in a bathing suit but we can model a few solutions for you.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.


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