Balenciaga's lawsuit against its former designer, Nicolas Ghesquière, has moved out of the courtroom and into mediation.
At the suggestion of the president of the Tribunal de Grande Instance, the French fashion house and Ghesquière have agreed to try to settle their dispute themselves, WWD reported. Oral arguments in the civil case were heard in July, and the court was originally scheduled to make a decision on Wednesday.
The lawsuit brought by Balenciaga against Ghesquière regards comments the designer made that the fashion house claims were harmful to its image, its parent company and its shareholders.
Balenciaga is seeking damages of about $9.4 million because of an interview Ghesquière and stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé did with London-based fashion magazine System in 2013. The lawsuit mentions several quotes from the interview, which was focused on Ghesquière's career post-Balenciaga, including one that reads:
"It was all about branding. I don't have anything against that; actually, the thing that I'm most proud of is that it's become a big financial entity and will continue to exist. But I began to feel as though I was sucked dry, like they wanted to steal my identity while trying to homogenize things."
Michel Laval, counsel for Ghesquière, argued that the comments were not critical of Balenciaga but of the fashion industry as a whole.
Ghesquière is now at the helm of Louis Vuitton, and Alexander Wang has taken over for him at Balenciaga.
According to Hugo Lévy, a lawyer at Thierry Lévy & Associés who is counsel for Balenciaga, this attempt at mediation does not represent any change in Balenciaga's initial claim. If the mediation does not result in an agreement between both parties, Lévy told WWD that Balenciaga will pursue the claim before the tribunal.
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