Ghesquière and Balenciaga Took It to Court

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Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

In further news of ex-employer awkwardness, The Fashion Law reports that representatives for Nicolas Ghesquière and Balenciaga  gave oral arguments in a French civil court yesterday. The question at hand: whether Ghesquière violated the terms of his contract by speaking negatively about his former employer in System magazine. (Yes, the notorious interview in which he claimed his creativity had been "sucked dry" while designing there.) A lawyer for Balenciaga, whom we have to salute for his eloquence, told the court, “Ghesquière’s statements sound like thunder, and Balenciaga is powerless against these words.” The designer's attorney, Michel Laval, responded that the statement referred to the "characteristic[s] of the designer that get lost in creation” and that it was not malevolent toward the fashion house. Laval also accused the house of not announcing Ghesquière’s exit under the terms cited by the house's media plan. The designer did receive $8 million as part of a "separation agreement" with the brand, an agreement that required he “refrain from declarations that could hurt the image of Balenciaga.” Such a blanket statement could make it very easy for Balenciaga to prove that Ghesquière verbally inflicted harm on the brand's reputation. The court will deliver the verdict on August 27, unless the two sides reach an accord earlier.