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It isn’t unusual for a designer — or any upper level business exec, for that matter — to protest a non-compete clause when they part ways with a company. What is unusual, however, is for an individual to ask that the clause be reinstated.
On Wednesday afternoon, that’s precisely what Hedi Slimane did. The former Saint Laurent creative director, who stepped down in April, filed a complaint in the commercial court in Paris against the French fashion house’s parent company, Kering, asking that the the clause be added back.
Following a Reuters report, which first broke the news of Slimane’s legal action, Kering issued the following statement: “The procedure regards the usual non-competition obligations that accompanied Hedi Slimane’s collaboration with the Yves Saint Laurent Maison. Kering lifted this clause at the end of Hedi Slimane’s contract, thus freeing Hedi Slimane from this potential constraint. Hedi Slimane is requesting that this clause be applied still, along with the effective payment of the financial compensation that goes with it.”
Earlier this year, the L.A.-based designer’s lawyer formally denied claims that he was launching a namesake label. Rumors that he is being groomed as Karl Lagerfeld’s replacement at Chanel have also been left unconfirmed. (Meanwhile, Anthony Vaccarello has taken up the reigns at Saint Laurent, teasing his first campaign earlier this week.)
So, we wonder, for what possible reason could Slimane be seeking to reinstate non-compete clause? We’ve come up with five potential hypotheses below.
1. The noted rock aficionado needs extra money for a front-row ticket to Oldchella 2016 (formally known as Desert Trip), which can cost up to $5,000.
2. He’s finally settled into that L.A. lifestyle, and is tired of brands asking him to work for them. (Because it’s hard to make that 2 p.m. Soul Cycle class when you’re running a business.)
3. He’s attaching gold nameplates to every piece of furniture in his house (like the ones which were attached to every chair at his final runway show for Saint Laurent.)
4. He’s retiring from fashion to focus on his celebrity photography career.
5. He is actually saving money to launch a namesake label after the non-compete expires. After all, considering his success after only four years at Saint Laurent, his line would certainly be welcomed by his built-in fan base.
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