PARIS — He recently started a new job and was handed a court victory against his former employer — involving a potential sum of 9.3 million euros — but Hedi Slimane’s case against Kering may not be over.
The French luxury conglomerate said it plans to appeal a French commercial court’s ruling in favor of Slimane, the latest chapter of a remuneration case linked to the designer’s time at Saint Laurent that has been winding through the court for over a year and a half.
The news comes as Slimane takes on his new role at Céline, owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, a high-profile position for the trend-setting fashion figure who has been recruited to extend the brand into men’s wear, couture and fragrance and show the first collection in September.
In its March 27 ruling, the court said Kering owes Slimane 9.3 million euros, related to the last year of an elaborate compensation scheme drawn up to allow the designer to benefit from an increase in value of the shares of Yves Saint Laurent. The amount is meant to ensure that Slimane’s pay from April 2015 to March 2016 would reach 10 million euros, the court said in its decision.
Kering said it would appeal the ruling but declined to comment further. The designer’s lawyers, Hervé Temime and Léon del Forno, said they would not comment on the matter.
Through his company, Analytic Project, that handles his commercial rights, Slimane launched the procedure at the commercial court in May 2016.
The following month, Kering acknowledged the legal proceedings, saying that Slimane had requested the lifting of a non-competition obligation. “Kering lifted this clause at the end of Hedi Slimane’s contract, thus freeing Hedi Slimane from this potential constraint,” the company said at the time. “Hedi Slimane is requesting that this clause be applied still, along with the effective payment of the financial compensation that goes with it.”
Non-competition obligations are among standard clauses for high-profile executive and creative roles in fashion, often restricting a designer or chief executive officer from working for competitors for up to a year or more.
In November 2016, Slimane’s lawyers said he was very satisfied with a court decision granting him access to financial information about Yves Saint Laurent.
The designer worked for Yves Saint Laurent from 2012 to March 2016, where he changed the label’s name to Saint Laurent, and, in Kering’s view, “reformed the maison.”
Before that, he had worked for another LVMH brand, Dior Homme, from 2000 to 2007, where he introduced slim tailoring, a trend that continues to hold resonance. LMVH has said it expects Céline, which generates close to 1 billion euros in annual sales, to double or triple its revenues within five years.