In September Oscar de la Renta announced that Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia (also the creative directors and founders of Monse) would return to the house as co-creative directors, there was little mention of the fact that Kim had been named senior vice president of design at Carolina Herrera earlier in the year .
It was assumed Carolina Herrera quietly gave notice and that was that, but a lawsuit filed by her on Wednesday reveals the whole situation was incredibly messy and still is. As initially reported by WWD, she has sued Oscar de la Renta in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, seeking to block Kim from joining the latter until April. That’s a problem, given that Kim and Garcia were set to debut their first collection for Oscar during New York Fashion Week in February, and presumably had already begun working on it.
The suit claims that in joining Oscar, Kim is in breach of the agreement she signed with CH “with the effect of advancing ODLR’s business interests to the competitive detriment of CH’s present and prospective business relations” and that ODLR also is at fault because it knew of the agreement. The agreement provided that Kim not compete with CH for a period of six months following the end of her employment with CH.
The court has granted a temporary restraining order preventing Kim from working at Oscar until the defendants, Laura Kim and Oscar de la Renta, LLC, can show cause as to why Herrera’s request for a preliminary injunction shouldn’t be granted.
A rep for Carolina Herrera provided the following to Fashionista:
“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.
AT ALL TIMES, CAROLINA HERRERA WAS FAITHFUL TO THE LETTER AND SPIRIT OF OUR AGREEMENT, AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO ETHICALLY AND FORCEFULLY PROTECT OUR BUSINESS INTERESTS.
OUR FOCUS NOW REMAINS ON CONTINUING TO INTRODUCE NEW COLLECTIONS THAT EMBODY THE SPIRIT OF TIMELESS ELEGANCE AND REFINEMENT FOR WHICH CAROLINA HERRERA IS KNOWN.”