How valuable is a creative head to a high-end brand? Very. Just how valuable has become clear following the latest development in Hedi Slimane’s legal dispute with his ex-employer Kering.
Slimane has just won a $13m settlement in his contractual dispute with the owner of the Yves Saint Laurent brand after a Paris commercial court made a ruling yesterday.
That figure covers the 12-month non-compete period that had been written into Slimane’s contract as creative chief at YSL.
But while ex-employees are frequently trying to get non-compete clauses lifted, the reverse is true here.
It seems Slimane’s non-compete clause (which is standard stuff, especially at his elevated level) was lifted by Kering when his contract ended so Slimane was free to do what he wanted.
But it seems what he wanted wasn’t that freedom! He wanted his $13m.
Maybe Slimane just likes the idea of chilling for a year and $13m can help you chill a lot. And it’s not as if there’s a big brand challenge on the horizon. The biggest jobs in fashion that have become available lately (Dior and Calvin Klein) appear to have been filled elsewhere (by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Raf Simons, although neither have been confirmed yet, the latter apparently due to Simon’s non-compete clause with his ex-employer).
Slimane has taken time out before of course, focusing on his artistic and photographic interests after he left Dior Homme. He’s obviously not worried that anyone will forget him How could they given the giant sales boost he gave to YSL?
Kering plans to appeal what it called an interim ruling so it looks like this one will run and run.