French Court Orders Kering To Pay Hedi Slimane $13 Million

PARIS – A French commercial court has ordered Kering to pay $13 million to Hedi Slimane in application of a noncompete clause following his departure from Yves Saint Laurent earlier this year, one of his lawyers said on Wednesday.

“It’s a sum that is written into the contract,” said Léon del Forno, speaking on behalf of Hervé Temime, whose law firm represents Slimane. “We simply asked for the application of the clear and strict terms of the contract.”

Kering said it plans to appeal what it termed an interim decision, adding that the procedure is still ongoing. Slimane, who left Saint Laurent in April after a four-year tenure as creative and image director, lodged the procedure in May. It concerns noncompetition obligations that are among standard clauses for high-profile executive and creative roles in fashion, and which typically restrict a designer or chief executive officer from working for competitors for up to a year or more.

“Kering lifted this clause at the end of Hedi Slimane’s contract, thus freeing Hedi Slimane from this potential constraint. Hedi Slimane is requesting that this clause be applied still, along with the effective payment of the financial compensation that goes with it,” the group said.

In April, Kering confirmed a Fairchild report and said Anthony Vaccarello would succeed Slimane at the design helm of Saint Laurent, thrusting an unassuming, low-key designer into one of the hottest seats in fashion. The 36-year-old Belgian designer is slated to show his first collection for the brand for the spring 2017 season.

Slimane’s legal challenge suggests he doesn’t have any immediate plans to sign on with another fashion house. Before joining YSL, he spent several years concentrating on photography and art making in his post-Dior Homme career.

In a separate statement earlier this month, Kering noted the “disagreement does not alter the group’s recognition for Hedi Slimane’s contribution, who, together with the Yves Saint Laurent team, has reformed the maison.”

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