Fashion world powerhouse Arnaud de Lummen compares dealing with Harvey Weinstein to “being in a mob movie.”
But after hearing new stories about Weinstein’s aggressive behavior, de Lummen isn’t afraid to sleep with the fishes.
In 2014, hot on the heels of Anna Wintour’s Met Gala honoring legendary designer Charles James, The Weinstein Company proudly announced its hand in resurrecting the storied clothing line, whose founder died in 1978.
Weinstein’s plan was to have his now-estranged wife, Georgina Chapman, serve as the brand’s creative consultant. There were even rumors that superstar Zac Posen would serve as head designer, though The Weinstein Company denied those rumors at the time.
There was just one problem — the estate of Charles James, which did the deal with Weinstein, apparently did not hold any trademarks for the Charles James brand. Rather, de Lummen says that his company,Luvanis, acquired those rights in 2003. According to de Lummen, Weinstein then took to bullying the Luxembourg-based company, which specializes in procuring such things.
“He said he disliked our business,” de Lummen said. “I’m not sure he had any idea of what we do. (Weinstein said) that he would push the ‘atomic button’ if we were not assigning to TWC our rights for a very, very reasonable price.”
According to de Lummen, Weinstein struck a deal with the family of the late designer to pay $ 400,000 to take over the brand for two years, with an option to buy afterwards. But that didn’t include Luvanis’ trademarks.
“He pushes you to surrender because of expanding legal fees and you have to accept the transaction Weinstein wants you to sign,” said de Lummen, who claims that Weinstein told him he was willing to spend $ 1.5 million in court costs. But in 2016, Weinstein reportedly gave up his fight.
De Lummen, who has since reached a deal with James’ family, now plans to sell the Charles James label early next year after a Paul Thomas Anderson movie and a biography about the designer are due to be released.
“He quietly exited, probably because he realized that buying those rights would be more costly than expected,” de Lummen said. By the time it was over, de Lummen said his company spent $ 250,000 defending itself.
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De Lummen also felt that details of the legal battle saw little media coverage because so many outlets didn’t want to “hurt Weinstein.”
Reps for Weinstein declined to comment.
With Brian Niemietz