Hedi Slimane has launched a lawsuit against Kering.
Slimane wrapped a four-year tenure as creative director at the Kering-owned Saint Laurent in April (16), but three months on, with his replacement Anthony Vaccarello stuck into work, the designer’s relationship with the fashion conglomerate has hit a snag.
Following a Reuters report on Wednesday (22Jun16), Kering bosses issued a statement confirming the lawsuit, lodged with the commercial court in Paris, and said it concerned Slimane’s non-competition obligation. Kering claimed it had lifted this clause at the end of Slimane’s contract, freeing him to work for another label.
Typically, non-compete agreements prevent an employee from taking a job that would put them in direct competition with an employer for a specified duration of time. But it appears that in Slimane’s case, he is now requesting that this clause still be applied and the financial compensation for it be paid.
"Kering lifted this clause at the end of Hedi Slimane’s contract, thus freeing Hedi Slimane from this potential constraint," Kering said in a statement to Fashionista.com. "Hedi Slimane is requesting that this clause be applied still, along with the effective payment of the financial compensation that goes with it."
Kering, which also oversees Alexander MCQueen, Gucci, and Puma, still holds the 47-year-old in a positive light though, adding in its statement: "This disagreement does not alter the Group's recognition for Hedi Slimane's contribution."
While rumours have been swirling that the Paris-born designer is set to replace Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, his current pursuits remain unknown. But the legal challenge certainly suggests that he doesn’t have any immediate plans to sign on with another fashion brand.
It’s not the first time Kering has entered into a legal battle with an employee. In 2013, one of its brands, Balenciaga, sued Nicolas Ghesquiere, over negative comments he made about the company in an interview following his departure. The highly publicised suit was mediated out of court.