Carolina Herrera is pleased the court today granted a temporary restraining order that upholds the non-compete agreement we signed with our former senior designer. As the court ruled, the non-compete agreement was fair and plainly worded.
A spokesperson for de la Renta declined comment.
But Herrera’s suit makes juicy reading — and does not hide plans to “transition out” the 77-year-old designer and replace her with a younger creative director. The suit comes at the end of a year when Herrera has been celebrating the 35th anniversary of her fashion house.
According to the suit, Herrera chief executive officer Francois Kress in July offered Kim, who the suit says was then a vice president of the house, a salary of $1 million to become senior vice president of design of the Carolina Herrera brand. Kim allegedly turned the job down, though, and left to join de la Renta.
Sources said while de la Renta executives were not concerned about Kim’s joining Herrera, even as a consultant, there was some worry that she had worked so closely with the late designer himself for so long and had deep knowledge of the house’s aesthetic. While Herrera and the late de la Renta were personal friends, there has long been a business rivalry between the two fashion houses. Herrera’s is much larger, approaching $1 billion based on the successful fragrances developed by her parent company Puig, although de la Renta has a more recognized apparel and accessories business.
Her start date was to be Feb. 29, 2016.
Sources said Herrera expressed that same sentiment to many people, often describing Kim and Garcia as “consultants” while she was the main designer of her brand.
“At this time, Mr. Kress informed me and Mr. Garcia that Carolina Herrera (the person) did not like our designs for the upcoming show [for spring 2016] and that she felt she could finish the collection in a way that was appropriate for her brand. In fact, Carolina Herrera said to me at that time: ‘Nobody knows you and nobody knows that you are here. I am more famous than you and have more powerful friends.’”
The affidavit says that Herrera did substantially change the designs. It also states that Kim told the Herrera company that she was leaving because it would not make Garcia co-creative director “and because CH would not agree to support Monse’s development as a brand,” adding that Kim “did not feel that this was a positive environment for creative input.”
The Herrera suit claims that the brand has lost business since Kim’s departure and that the fall collection shown during New York Fashion Week in February has been a dud at retail.
The suit contends Kim was a “unique employee” who is “very adept at creating designs that are what commercial clients are interested in stocking in their stores,” adding that the resort 2016 collection Kim helped design was “the most commercially successful ever in its 35-year history.”