PARIS — Has Bruno Sialelli been working for Lanvin in violation of a non-compete clause with his former employer, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton? The Tribunal de Commerce de Paris has set a June 14 date for a hearing related to the Lanvin designer’s contracts, WWD has learned.
According to one source, Sialelli’s non-compete clause from his previous position as men’s wear designer at LVMH-owned fashion house Loewe is valid until the end of May.
Lanvin revealed Sialelli’s appointment as head of the house’s creative direction on Jan. 21, and he paraded his first collection in Paris the following month. WWD had reported in October that the former Loewe designer was in talks with the house to take the new job.
The June 14 hearing will be a short judicial proceeding lasting around 10 minutes, in which the judge will lay out the upcoming steps of the case in the judicial system, according to a court official.
LVMH and Lanvin declined to comment.
The French conglomerate is known for its stringent enforcement of non-compete clauses, which are widespread in the fashion industry — common practice among luxury houses seeking to guard against poaching of talent by rivals. One of the most recent instances of LVMH enforcing a non-compete was in the case of Raf Simons after he left Christian Dior — and whose appointment as creative head at the Calvin Klein brand was revealed literally a day after the expiration of his non-compete with the French group.
Lanvin had been struggling to find its footing since the departure of creative director Alber Elbaz in 2015, which set off an extended period of uncertainty for the historic house. Elbaz’s successor, Bouchra Jarrar, left after 16 months amid declining sales, while Olivier Lapidus exited after only two seasons.
In 2018, Fosun International scooped up a majority stake in Lanvin, which was suffering a liquidity crisis, and moved quickly to recruit Sandro chief executive officer Jean-Philippe Hecquet — a former LVMH executive — to lead the label’s revival.
In its January statement disclosing Sialelli’s appointment, Fosun Fashion Group touted his “youthful translation” of its storied heritage along with his ability to navigate between men’s and women’s wear among reasons for settling on the designer.
His first show at the Musée de Cluny in Paris offered a more casual focus to the upscale house than Elbaz had pursued, and expressed an aim to bring men’s and women’s wear closer together. “It’s not about gender-fluidity, it’s just a fact. It’s how people are shopping now,” he told WWD at the show.
In his profile on LinkedIn, Sialelli lists Loewe as his employer since March 2016, for the position of head of men’s wear. Before that, he held senior design roles in women’s wear at Paco Rabanne, Acne Studios and Balenciaga. He is a fashion graduate of Studio Berçot in Paris.