Around the holidays, it’s common for tensions to rise, hurtful words to be spoken, and emotions to be on edge. And—shocker—it turns out the fashion community isn’t excluded from that narrative. The latest embroilment? Carolina Herrera vs. Oscar de la Renta, with Laura Kim at the center. Not quite as petty as the Instagram war last week in which adult man Philipp Plein took to the social media app to apologize to absolutely “NOBODY” after receiving a letter from Dolce & Gabbana accusing him of stealing their employees, but dramz nonetheless.
So, basically, Herrera and co. are suing ODLR over Laura Kim, the young designer who founded Monse with Fernando Garcia. (Both Kim and Garcia were named creative directors of the house of ODLR back in September.) On Wednesday, WWD reports, Herrera filed a lawsuit to prevent Kim from joining ODLR as co-creative director—at least until April. (Her and Garcia’s debut collection for the house would be for Fall 2017, shown in February.) Herrera’s camp alleges that Kim, a former senior designer at Carolina Herrera, signed a noncompete agreement last year and violated it by accepting her new offer at ODLR, a competing house.
Here’s where it gets messy: Kim and Garcia began their careers at ODLR, working closely with the iconic designer for nearly 12 years. In October of last year, the duo were brought on at Carolina Herrera to consult full-time—Kim even toyed with the idea of potentially replacing the 77-year-old designer after she was to be “transitioned” out of her role, unbeknownst to Herrera. Kim apparently turned the $1 million offer down; an affidavit filed on her behalf said that when she began working at Herrera, “nobody had informed Ms. Herrera that she was being transitioned out and that Ms. Herrera intended to run CH as if she were the creative director."
"According to my offer letter," she continued, "I was supposed to be reporting to CH’s president and chief executive officer Francois Kress. However, I soon learned that Ms. Herrera frequently took charge, without objection from Mr. Kress.” She also alleges that Herrera once said to her, “Nobody knows you and nobody knows that you are here. I am more famous than you and have more powerful friends.”
Since Kim’s departure (she officially resigned on July 8), the house of Herrera claims they’ve lost business, and that their Fall 2016 collection was a flop. They also claim her Resort 2016 collection for the house was the company’s “most commercially successful ever in its 35 year history,” adding that Kim is a “unique employee” who is “very adept at creating designs that are what commercial clients are interested in stocking in their stores.” Anyway, if you thought 2016 couldn't get any shittier, there's this.