Italian fashion guru Roberto Cavalli has been slapped with legal action from three street artists amid allegations he copied part of their work to use for a graffiti-inspired collection.

The legendary designer reportedly lifted aspects of a mural in San Francisco's Mission District by the group Revok, Reyes and Steel and recreated them for bags, dresses and shoes for his Just Cavalli Graffiti line.

Artists Jason 'Revok' Williams, Victor 'Reyes' Chapa and Jeffrey 'Steel' Rubin filed suit over the issue in the Central District of California on 25 August (14), and Chapa tells the New York Post, "It's really upsetting that our work could have been used for profit in a mass-market type of situation. It brings out all crazy feelings of anxiety and failure because... this work is a culmination of not just a week, but years and years...The fact someone would take it without permission is really sad."

Lawyers for the trio reportedly fired off a cease-and-desist notice to Cavalli to halt the sale of the collection in June (14), but the items remain available to the public.

A spokesperson for Cavalli claims the designer has yet to receive the official news of the lawsuit, but insists the "highly inflammatory allegations" have "no basis in face and are incorrect".

However, the representative adds, "In order to avoid the time and expense of unnecessary litigation, we also intend to communicate with the artists' attorneys to discuss a mutually agreeable resolution of the issues."