PARIS — A legal representative for stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé on Tuesday filed defenses in the face of a lawsuit brought by Balenciaga against her and its former designer Nicolas Ghesquière for remarks that the fashion house deemed harmful.

This story first appeared in the December 4, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

At a brief administrative session at the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris, the court set Feb. 4 as the date when Balenciaga is to file submissions in reply to Sauvé’s arguments and Ghesquière’s, which were already deposited last October.

A date for pleadings has yet to be fixed, and it is understood the civil case could take a few years to wind its way through the French courts.

Court documents obtained by WWD in September show Balenciaga is seeking damages of 7 million euros, or $9.2 million at current exchange, over an interview Ghesquière and Sauvé granted to upstart London-based fashion magazine System earlier this year.

The suit mentions multiple quotes by Ghesquière from the cover story, which ran over 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 a year ago, the separation agreement stipulated that he refrain from declarations that could hurt the image of the fashion house, owned by France’s Kering.

Last month, 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 in March.