PARIS — The legal tussle between LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Hermès just got nastier.
LVMH filed civil charges on Tuesday against an unidentified manager at Hermès, an LVMH spokesman confirmed Thursday without elaborating further.
In an article published in French daily Le Figaro on Wednesday, LVMH vice president Pierre Godé was quoted as saying the group had filed the charges “following what was said by the manager.”
Although vague in his statement, Godé was presumably referring to Patrick Thomas, chief executive officer of Hermès International, who alleged during the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday that LVMH had built up its 22.6 percent stake in Hermès in a “fraudulent” way. RELATED STORY: Hermès Blasts LVMH at Annual Meeting >>
Asked by one shareholder how Hermès accounted for a recent declaration by LVMH chairman and ceo Bernard Arnault that he came into the holding unexpectedly, Thomas said “either LVMH is disorganized” for not knowing how it came to amass its initial 17.1 percent stake — yielding more than a billion euros, or $1.3 billion, in capital gains — or Arnault did not tell the truth.
“I’ll let you decide,” he said.
Speaking at LVMH’s annual meeting last April, Arnault said: “You know, we found ourselves owning shares in this company…unexpectedly. We had not planned to be shareholders in this firm. We made a financial investment, and that financial investment had an outcome that we had not expected.”
This is the latest lawsuit between the two luxury giants in their increasingly heated battle. As reported, in September 2012 LVMH filed a suit against Hermès for slander, blackmail and unfair competition after Hermès had filed a criminal complaint against LVMH, accusing it of insider trading and manipulation.
Godé added in Le Figaro: “Hermès’ [multiple] campaigns [are] aimed to destabilize us. Our patience has its limits. It’s time that the public learns the truth.”
Godé’s statement Tuesday came just days after the French market authority, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers, recommended that LVMH be fined 10 million euros, or $13.2 million at current exchange, for dissimulating its gradual acquisition of Hermès stocks between 2001 and 2010.
The authority’s enforcement committee is to reveal its final decision no later than July 31.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast