Dec 12, 2019
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Kering's appeals rejected in proceedings against Hedi Slimane

Dec 12, 2019

Paris' commercial court has rejected appeals from luxury group Kering in two sets of proceedings pitting it against Hedi Slimane, the former creative director of its Yves Saint Laurent brand – the latest development in a dispute that dates back to 2016. 

Hedi Slimane at the time he worked for Yves Saint Laurent - Archives

Now aged 51, Slimane has been creative director at LVMH-owned Celine since 2018. Between 2012 and 2016, however, the designer held the same role at Yves Saint Laurent, a brand owned by François-Henri Pinault's Kering group. 

In June 2016, Kering was sentenced by Paris' commercial court to pay $13 million to Hedi Slimane, who had filed against a non-competition clause in the contract that he had signed with the group. 

In a ruling announced on 3 December and consulted by AFP, the court has now rejected Kering's appeals to have the $13 million that it transferred to the Californian law firm that manages Slimane's commercial rights returned to it. The court has also ruled that the group should pay 20,000 euros to the designer and 20,00 euros to his firm to cover the expenses that they have incurred.

Another ruling given by the commercial court, also on 3 December, concerns the shareholder agreement established in 2013 between Kering and Slimane – minority stakeholder of Yves Saint Laurent – which gave the designer the right to receive information about the label's finances. 

When Slimane left the group in 2016, Kering terminated this shareholder contract, a move that the designer has since contested.

In its ruling, the court determines that the "unilateral termination is irregular," highlighting that the "shareholder agreement is not null." It has also sentenced Kering to pay 50,000 euros for the expenses incurred by the designer. When contacted by AFP on Wednesday, Slimane's lawyer did not pass comment on the court's decisions. AFP also contacted the Kering group, which did not wish to comment either. 

A third set of proceedings still exists between Slimane and Kering, and it concerns the variable part of the designer's pay in the last year of his contract with the group. In 2018 Kering was sentenced to pay Slimane 9.3 million euros, but the group has since appealed the decision. 

A fashion wunderkind, Slimane breathed new life into Yves Saint Laurent by attracting a hip young customer base to the label with his androgynous looks and skinny cuts. He gave a significant boost to the brand's revenues, which rose from 353 million euros in 2011 to 974 million in 2015. 

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