Carolina Herrera Is Suing Oscar de La Renta Over Hiring It's Former Senior Designer

Carolina Herrera has filed a lawsuit against Oscar de la Renta in the Supreme Court of New York in an attempt to delay the fashion house from hiring Laura Kim — a former employee of the Herrera fashion house — until April 2017.

The lawsuit claims that the hiring of Laura Kim, by de la Renta, is a breach of the six-month non-compete clause in the contract that Kim signed when starting work at the Herrera fashion house. ('Non-compete clause' - which pretty much is what it says it is: a clause that forms part of a contractual agreement between two parties, under which one party - usually an employee - agrees not to enter into or start a similar profession or trade in competition against another party - usually the employer, for a reasonable period of time). 

The Facts

According to the lawsuit, Kim was a vice president at Herrera when she was offered the role of creative director at the label by CEO Francois Kress. Kim turned down the $1 million role, reportedly on the grounds that Herrera herself was not aware that she had been offered the position, therefore meaning that Kim would not have complete creative control. The suit says that “Kim made it known to CH that she wanted to be creative director, in effect displacing Carolina Herrera herself.” When that move failed, Kim left for the creative designer job at Oscar de la Renta in September, following the sudden departure of the label's English-born helmer Peter Copping in July.  

The role is ultimately a return to the label for Kim, who previously worked at the brand for 12 years, before leaving in January for Herrera.

As Pagesix reports the lawsuit calls Kim a “unique employee” who was is “very adept at creating designs that are what commercial clients are interested in stocking in their stores...her Resort 2016 collection for Carolina Herrera was the company’s “most commercially successful ever in its 35 year history,” The suit goes on to say "that since Kim’s departure Carolina Herrera has lost business with the luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman and its fall collection was a flop." 

WWD reports that the courts have granted Carolina Herrera "a temporary restraining order that upholds the non-compete agreement," originally signed between the Herrera fashion house and the former senior designer."

Kim’s lawyers say the non-complete clause is unenforceable, alleging that she was pushed out of the company.