PARIS — The labor case pitting disgraced designer John Galliano against his former employers, Christian Dior Couture and John Galliano SA, will move to the Court of Appeal in Paris.
This story first appeared in the March 14, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Galliano’s lawyer, Chantal Giraud-van Gaver of Coblence & Associés, confirmed that a hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 24 and that she would continue to argue that Galliano was a salaried employee.
Dior opposed a decision last month at the Conseil de prud’hommes, or Labor Relations Court, which ruled that it was qualified to hear Galliano’s claims against his former employer. Dior had argued that the British fashion maverick was more an independent contractor than a subordinate.
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The designer was dismissed in March 2011 after 15 years as the couturier at Dior, following a series of public outbursts during which he uttered racist and anti-Semitic insults at a Paris café. He was also ousted from the fashion house that bears his name.
At his trial on charges of public insult in June 2011, Galliano blamed work-related stress and multiple addictions for his behavior.
According to Dior, the designer was linked to it and to the John Galliano company by a multitude of contracts, including several consultancy agreements with Galliano’s company, Cheyenne Freedom. The fashion house argued that these could not be treated separately from the employment contracts established between Galliano and the two companies.
The tussle over legal competence will surely delay what was already bound to be a protracted procedure in a cluttered legal jurisdiction.
Galliano’s counsel has declined to specify the amount of damages he is seeking, saying any eventual compensation depends on the charges the court admits when the full case is finally heard.
It is understood he is seeking a figure in the range of 6 million euros, or $7.8 million.
As reported, Galliano earned a fixed gross annual salary of 1 million euros, or $1.3 million at current exchange, at Christian Dior Couture, plus variable compensation of up to 700,000 euros, or $906,400, and a percentage linked to the firm’s annual sales rise. In addition, Galliano earned a fixed gross salary of 2 million euros, or $2.6 million, as artistic director of his own brand, and a percentage linked to the decrease in annual losses at the perennially unprofitable house.
Galliano recently spent several weeks working in the New York design studio of Oscar de la Renta.
Jean Néret of Jeantet Associés, lawyer for Christian Dior Couture and John Galliano, could not be reached for comment.