By  on February 4, 2014

PARIS — A court here picked a fashion-friendly date for a hearing in the lawsuit brought by Balenciaga against its former designer, Nicolas Ghesquière, for remarks the fashion house deemed harmful.

The Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris has set July 1 — which falls between the French men’s shows and couture — to hear oral arguments in the civil case, which kicked off in September.

Until now, lawyers have been depositing written arguments, with the latest brief administrative session unfurling on Tuesday, where legal counsel for Balenciaga filed submissions to defenses tabled in December.

The Tribunal also set April 1 as another bookkeeping date, when counsel for Ghesquière and stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé, who is also named in the suit, are to respond to Tuesday’s filings.

A legal source said a ruling could come as early as September, but cautioned that the trial date could yet shift from July 1.

Court documents obtained by WWD in September show Balenciaga is seeking damages of 7 million euros, or $9.4 million at current exchange, over an interview Ghesquière and Sauvé granted to London-based fashion magazine System last year about the Frenchman’s post-Balenciaga career.

The suit mentions multiple quotes by Ghesquière from the cover story, which ran more than 30 pages. One of them reads: “…I began to feel as though I was sucked dry, like they wanted to steal my identity while trying to homogenize things.”

According to counsel for Balenciaga, when Ghesquière exited the house in November 2012, the separation agreement stipulated that he refrain from declarations that could hurt the image of the fashion house, owned by France’s Kering and now being designed by Alexander Wang.

Last November, Kering’s luxury rival, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, tapped Ghesquière to become Vuitton’s artistic director of women’s collections, succeeding Marc Jacobs.

Ghesquière is slated to show his first collection for Vuitton on March 5.

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