Kerring VS Slimane
When Hedi Slimane left Saint Laurent earlier this year, the fashion world was shocked! Unlike contemporaries Raf Simmons and Alexander Wang (who exited Dior and Balenciaga respectively), there were no rumours of a burn out, or a fall out over lagging sales. Quite the opposite actually, the Saint Laurent that Slimane had created seemed to be going from strength to strength. Sales were strong and the brand had an avid cult following.
The departure was a peaceful one, with both parties expressing respect and gratitude for their time together. That is why it came as a bit of shock to discover that Slimane was suing The Kerring Group (the group that owns Saint Laurent)! So what was the reason for this sudden change of sentiment? Well, as is the norm with designers at this level, as part of their multimillion euro contracts they are required to sign what is known as a “non-compete” clause, which essentially stops them from working with competing brands for a set period of time after departing from their current house. Normally when a designer leaves a Creative Director role, it is to pursue a similar role at a different house, so although these non-compete clauses come with a significant financial care package, they are very restricting for the creative. When Slimane left Saint Laurent the rumour mill went into overdrive, where was he going next?
However, it has since transpired that upon his departure from their fashion empire, Kerring released Slimane from his non-compete clause, therefore freeing him to work with whoever he chose. Instead of celebrating his creative freedom, Slimane is suing them to have the clause reinstated. This may seem strange, but when you realise that his non-design period was compensated by a 15million euro care package, you may begin to realise why this period of repose was so important to Slimane. Especially since he is rumoured to only be shadowing Karl Lagerfeld until Kaiser Karl decides to retire. So far Slimane is winning his case, with a Judge ruling that Kerring must compensate Slimane the 15million euros that was originally in his contract. Kerring have since appealed.