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04-09-2013
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BALENCIAGA V. GHESQUIÈRE
Lawsuit Reveals Juicy New Details About Nicolas Ghesquière’s Split from Balenciaga


A court hearing date has been set for Balenciaga’s lawsuit against former creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, and WWD has all the juicy details.

For one, Balenciaga’s lawyer confirmed that it was in fact Ghesquière’s comments in an interview with new magazine System that inspired Balenciaga to sue. Ghesquière’s collaborator, stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé, is named in the suit as well.

According to the filing, his comments violated the “separation agreement” that Ghesquière signed on October 17, 2012, which stipulated that he “refrain from declarations that could hurt the image of Balenciaga.”

One of Ghesquière’s quotes mentioned in the suit: “…I began to feel as though I was sucked dry, like they wanted to steal my identity while trying to homogenize things.”

“Balenciaga didn’t want its designer to justify his departure by criticizing the house that employed him,” the court document says. “In general, the parties, knowing the hypersensitivity of the fashion industry to changes in creative direction, were forbidden from commenting on the break in order to avoid any detrimental effect on their economic interests or their image.”

According to the trade, Balenciaga is seeking $9.2 million in damages, as well as “publication of the judgment in a variety of French fashion and business publications.” It’s kind of the public way to make Ghesquière eat his words.

However, while it sounds like a lot, Ghesquière could probably take a $9 million hit pretty easily. In addition to getting paid nearly that much as compensation in 2012 after breaking his employment contracts, he apparently received $42.3 million for the sale of his 10% stake in the company.

The hearing of Ghesquière’s lawyers’ arguments is set for October 15, with a full hearing expected to take place next year.

It’s still unknown what Ghesquière’s next professional move will be, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he waited until the end of his legal battles to embark on it.
fashionista.com

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Last edited by VogueDisciple93; 04-09-2013 at 11:58 AM.
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04-09-2013
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this is what i hate so much about these conglomerate houses....all of these ridiculous backroom agreements and clauses that dictate so much even a sentiment...so they pretty much even though he's gone,no longer affiliated they still maintain a sense of control over him forcing him to be dishonest....which generally doesn't surprise me since that's the way these houses often operate on....but to control an opinion after the fact seems overly paranoid and overreactive. i know nicolas weighs a lot of influence and has certainly defined an era for balenciaga but come on....balenciaga will remain balenciaga for ages....commenting about the treatment of owners has no reflection on the image or legacy of that house.

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23-09-2013
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Sooo petty...

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02-10-2013
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Originally Posted by Scott View Post
this is what i hate so much about these conglomerate houses....all of these ridiculous backroom agreements and clauses that dictate so much even a sentiment...so they pretty much even though he's gone,no longer affiliated they still maintain a sense of control over him forcing him to be dishonest....which generally doesn't surprise me since that's the way these houses often operate on....but to control an opinion after the fact seems overly paranoid and overreactive. i know nicolas weighs a lot of influence and has certainly defined an era for balenciaga but come on....balenciaga will remain balenciaga for ages....commenting about the treatment of owners has no reflection on the image or legacy of that house.

Well Nicolas took their money and signed the papers so he felt the clauses were worth it.

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03-07-2014
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Quote:
Ghesquière and Balenciaga Battled it out in Court Today

The Fashion Law Exclusive – Nicholas Ghesquière and Balenciaga were in court in Paris today as scheduled. The Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris, a French civil court, heard the parties’ oral arguments in the $9.5 million lawsuit that Balenciaga filed against Ghesquière, who now serves as creative director at Louis Vuitton. You may recall that Balenciaga filed suit in September alleging that Ghesquière breached his contract, particularly the agreement to refrain from making statements that could undermine the image of Balenciaga or its parent company, Kering, stemming from a string of interviews he gave to London-based fashion magazine System. Today, Thierry Lévy, who is counsel for Balenciaga, told the court that Ghesquière is a “young man infinitely gifted” and a “hard worker, who managed in a few years the miracle of resurrecting Balenciaga.” However, Lévy also told the court that the Paris-based design house has suffered material injury as a result of the designer’s breach, saying: “Ghesquière’s statements sound like thunder, and Balenciaga is powerless against these words.”

Michel Laval, who is representing Ghesquière, referred to the designer as ”the spiritual heir of Cristobal Balenciaga.” Laval fought Balenciaga’s allegations, primarily claiming that there is no proof that Balenciaga has been negatively affected by Ghesquière’s comments, telling the court: “No evidence is given of the injury,” and highlighting “flourishing accounts of Balenciaga.” Laval stated that Ghesquière’s comments in the System magazine interview were not meant to incriminate Balenciaga, so to speak. Instead, he believes Ghesquière expressed a view shared by many designers in his position, saying: ”This is the old and difficult question of the relationship between the creator and the fashion house. The creator regrets that business logic prevails. But who will say the opposite and why is it negative?”

Moreover, Laval spoke to one of the key comments that is at issue in the case, Ghesquière’s statement: “I was being sucked dry, like they wanted to steal my identity while trying to homogenize things.” Of this, Laval said that his client was referring to the ”characteristic of the designer that get lost in creation.” Thereafter, he asked the court, “Where is the repetitional damage to Balenciaga?”

Last but not least, Laval told the court that Balenciaga, particularly the president of the house, Isabelle Guichot and the President/Chairman of Kering, François-Henri Pinault, is at fault for taking the initiative to announce the departure of Ghesquière unilaterally, and not in accordance with the protocol provided in the house’s media plan. To this, Lévy remarked: ”There was no possible dialogue.”

As for what chance Ghesquière stands in winning the suit, it largely depends on the wording of the specific clause prohibiting him from speaking out about his time with Balenciaga. According to what was said in court today, there is a “separation agreement” in place that Ghesquière signed in 2012 and in return, he received compensation in excess of $8 million. The agreement stipulated that he “refrain from declarations that could hurt the image of Balenciaga.” This is obviously rather vague, which would probably be more beneficial to Balenciaga than to Ghesquière, as from the sounds of it, there is no need for Balenciaga to prove actual harm in order to claim breach. In fact, if the aforementioned wording is exact, Balenciaga would merely need to show that Ghesquière’s statements “could hurt” its image. That’s a pretty low bar.

I suppose Ghesquière’s légal team could argue that the contract is invalid in someway, maybe it is not limited enough in terms of duration, it is unconscionable (aka it is grossly unfair to the party with lesser bargaining power … Ghesquière), or it is the result of undue influence. I doubt that any of these defenses to a breach of contract will be valid, however, as the parties to the contract, Balenciaga and Ghesquière (who was undoubtedly represent by legal counsel) are sophisticated parties and absent some major mistake, the contract is likely enforceable.

Finally, there is the argument that Ghesquière was merely sharing his opinion on the matter, something that Ghesquière’s lawyer proposed in court today. Because the matter is between two private entities, the First Amendment right to speech likely does not come into play. However, on a related note, I do wonder if Ghesquiere’s lawyer has a point here. While I agree that Nicolas probably should have chosen his words a bit more wisely in order to avoid legal ramifications, is he shedding light on a larger issue: That creative directors and designers are really doing too much in light of the increased speed of fashion and the number of collections they are expected to turn out each season?

The court has set a verdict for August 27th if the parties do not reach a settlement poor to that date. More to come …
thefashionlaw

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03-07-2014
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if that damn conglomerate wins this, there should be chaos, mayhem and revolution from the fashion (under)world, like the student riots of may '68.

i mean it!

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04-07-2014
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It's pretty obvious they took an ego trip with this one. I don't think of anything that could damage a company's image more than airing dirty laundry in court Now that he's being sued, he might as well spill the beans on anything else.

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04-07-2014
  23
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Originally Posted by Not Plain Jane View Post
if that damn conglomerate wins this, there should be chaos, mayhem and revolution from the fashion (under)world, like the student riots of may '68.

i mean it!
That's a lovely thought, Jane.

But there are no rebels in fashion nowadays: Should we be expecting young guns Alexander Wang, J.W. Anderson and the Olsen Twins to rage against the machine...?

(They'll all be too busy in board meetings.)

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04-07-2014
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i think there are some rebels left but unfortunately so much of fashion is now controlled by power and greed from the corporate sector,that many of the cynical voices have been muffled.

daniellat,that's a great point too. just imagine the dirt that will regurgitate during a court proceeding. to me the idea of this clause is indeed rather vague since it doesn't seem to be clear what that actually means. he spoke out against owners not the house itself so how that gets translated in this will be interesting,if they even can interpret it that way. all i know is that,this is probably the most disgusting(among many)aspects of captialism...they so often have you at their mercy even if you're no longer affiliated with the company.

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05-07-2014
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I hate Thierry Levy ! and he scares me to death. i would be crying in front of him in court, and confess everything he wants me to.


that is funny because i see thierry levy as someone who is against politically correct and morality, and that he was for freedom of speech. and this lame case smells being politically correct and not being able to speak freely. i had no idea he was PPR lawyer.

"there is the insult, and then there is the Law. After after, there is backlash/punishment." (not sure this a good translated quote. he once said that on TV. i will always remember this phrase).

ps: now that i know thierry levy is PPR lawyer, I doubt Nicolas will win.


Last edited by BerlinRocks; 05-07-2014 at 09:20 AM.
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10-07-2014
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Originally Posted by BerlinRocks View Post
I hate Thierry Levy ! and he scares me to death. i would be crying in front of him in court, and confess everything he wants me to.


that is funny because i see thierry levy as someone who is against politically correct and morality, and that he was for freedom of speech. and this lame case smells being politically correct and not being able to speak freely. i had no idea he was PPR lawyer.

"there is the insult, and then there is the Law. After after, there is backlash/punishment." (not sure this a good translated quote. he once said that on TV. i will always remember this phrase).

ps: now that i know thierry levy is PPR lawyer, I doubt Nicolas will win.
I really hope Nicolas wins, this case is far more damaging to Balenciaga's image than anything he said in an interview (which was frankly so devoid of damaging insults its ridiculous that this case went to court at all) The fact that they're suing them just makes them seem like soul-sucking petty a$$holes. Now that I said that, they'll probably sue me

Anyway I thought there were clauses to cover you from being legally liable for just stating an opinion - i.e. that it isn't defamation if it's the expression of an opinion, so it can't then count as slander. Of course I guess lawyers are able to twist any law every which way they like, so I guess this Thierry Levy character will endeavour to do so. His ghoulish looks are positively terrifying

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Last edited by tiffany; 10-07-2014 at 06:08 PM.
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10-07-2014
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This kind of reminds me of Pinault's case with Evangelista. Too much dirty laundry to air. I think PPR will regret it. Call it the Streisand effect.

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13-07-2014
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Stefano Pilati made similar comments in an interview with Vice magazine, but nothing really happens...Stop being a biased b***h, Mr Pinault.

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02-08-2014
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I think PPR will regret it. Call it the Streisand effect.
Totally!

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03-08-2014
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The harm to PPR is certain greater by hiring Alexander Wang than by what Nicholas said...

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