PARIS — Kris Van Assche is among the designers contacted to take over Dior Homme should negotiations over a new contract with Hedi Slimane fail, WWD has learned.

As reported, talks to renew Slimane’s employment contract with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton have hit an impasse less than two weeks before the Dior Homme show at the climax of men’s fashion week in Paris.

Known for his modern sartorial style, the Paris-based Van Assche, 30, worked with Slimane for seven years, both at YSL and Dior Homme. Van Assche first hit the fashion radar in spring 2005 when his debut signature line garnered critical acclaim. Van Assche, who is Belgian, will present his fourth collection during the Paris men’s wear shows on July 1.

Meanwhile, one source close to Slimane said the launch of a Hedi Slimane fashion house for women and men remains an active subject of negotiations.

One divisive element is tallying the current value of the Hedi Slimane trademark, the source said. Although Dior Homme clothes do not bear Slimane’s name, his rejuvenation of the brand’s men’s wear made him a media star whose photography and art activities have added to his profile.

It is understood Slimane is eager to remain at Dior Homme; however, he is seeking to maintain full rights to his brand name. Sources have indicated salary demands are another contentious subject with Slimane, who is said to be seeking in excess of 2 million euros, or $2.5 million, per year. A spokeswoman for Dior Homme had no comment on Tuesday, and a spokeswoman for Dior also had no comment.

Considered one of the leading men’s wear talents, Slimane’s first foray was at Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche in the late Nineties. He then joined Dior in 2000 following various proposals from Prada Group and Gucci, which had offered the designer a signature fashion house.

This story first appeared in the June 21, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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