Designer Naeem Khan, CEO of his eponymous line and favorite of Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé, is being sued by a former employee for breach of contract and defamation. Yep, defamation. The insane proceedings are really shedding some light on the backstabbing, superficial side of high fashion, as Khan gets raked over the fashion coals by society's finest.
Vogue UK reports that Lionel Geneste, a former creative director for Khan from 2003 to 2006, is seeking up to $200,000, plus interest in unpaid commission. As Geneste fights to get some of that money back, Khan claims that Geneste was fired due to identity fraud, according to WWD. Allegedly, Geneste has underreported his income on tax returns and used his boyfriend's social security number instead of his own. He's also got a 2007 conviction for stealing a boyfriend's credit card, according to court records.
But let's get down to the drama — this case is really bringing out the crazy in everyone, and Khan is being publicly slandered from the witness stand. WWD live-tweeted this gem:
Whether or not that's true, it's a horribly embarrassing accusation to fling at a designer — nothing is quite as nastily classless as a knock-off. (Also, Renee Prince Fillip buys couture and furs for Neiman Marcus, and would probably be able to spot a fake Birkin from a mile away.)
A former staffer also claimed that she saw Khan doing cocaine twice at fashion events, according to a live tweet from WWD, which they deleted shortly after posting. Claims like this are clearly meant to throw shade on Khan's character, not his business practices.
And finally, socialite Audrey Gruss took the stand on Friday to defend Lionel Geneste and smear Naeem Khan in the snobbiest of ways. (Haven't heard of Audrey? You must hang around in the wrong zip code — she owns houses in London, Manhattan, the Hamptons, and Palm Beach, darling.) Mrs. Gruss, wearing a houndstooth Chanel suit and freshwater pearls, according to the New York Post, wasn't afraid to attack Khan where it hurts: She sniffed at the quality of his designs. According to Gruss, Geneste practically saved the Khan brand. Before Geneste, Khan's line was defined by "a lot of heavy embroidery; there didn’t seem to be a very high-fashion element," she said on the witness stand, and added outside court, "They were embroidered, mother-of-the-bride dresses. My style is a little more updated, classic."
Mother-of-the-bride dresses? Audrey, you didn't! When the court asked her what made her qualified to testify about fashion, she responded, "I purchase haute couture in Paris."
The proceedings continue Monday, so stay tuned for more couture crazy.