Yves Saint Laurent has to pay its former designer Hedi Slimane more than ten million euros, after he won a court case against his previous employer. And worse may yet be to come for the French fashion house...
Slimane was a creative director at Yves Saint Laurent between 2012 and 2016: the cooperation was a great success, because under his leadership YSL tripled its turnover. However, when the two parties parted ways, Slimane demanded more than twenty million euros from Kering, which owns Yves Saint Laurent. The designer took the luxury company to court several times.
When Slimane left the company, the fashion house had unilaterally removed a clause in his contract, which stipulated that he was not allowed to work for a competitor for a year and promised Slimane 13 million dollars (11.6 million euros) in exchange for this. But Kering removed the clause from the contract and denied Slimane the fortune. Kering was defeated in court in June 2016 and was ordered to pay the whole amount to Slimane. Kering appealed the decision, but also in appeal the judge sided with the designer.
It is not Slimane's first victory in his legal battle with the fashion house: also in 2016, Kering was already convicted on one occasion of non-compliance with a shareholders' agreement between the two parties. Slimane had been a minority shareholder in Yves Saint Laurent since 2013, but on his resignation the company unilaterally terminated the agreement.
This may not be the end of Kering's struggle with Slimane as, in another case, he is still demanding overdue salary payment from his last contract year. He claims to be entitled to 9.3 million euros, while he 'only' received 667,000 euros. This would be a kind of bonus that the designer has not yet received. Kering has appealed in this case as well, but there is no verdict yet.
A spicy detail: since 2018, Slimane has been working as a creative director at Celine, which is owned by the luxury group LVMH - and that is Kering's main competitor.