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Memo Pad: Nygard's Blitz Defense... Cuts Chez Lagerfeld...

Peter Nygard’s drive to avoid unfavorable publicity apparently knows no bounds.

Correction Appended Thursday January 14, 2010 12:01 AM

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NYGARD’S BLITZ DEFENSE: Canadian designer-entrepreneur Peter Nygård’s drive to avoid unfavorable publicity apparently knows neither bounds nor international boundaries. His battle to stop the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. from broadcasting what appears to be a probing segment on him and his company, Nygård International Partnership, has now carried into three separate legal jurisdictions — his home province of Manitoba, where he’s filed two lawsuits aimed at both CBC journalists and former employees alleged to have provided confidential information about the firm; New York, where a suit in U.S. District Court alleged copyright infringement by a CBC film crew at the opening of Nygård’s Time Square flagship in November, and San Jose, where a U.S. District Court granted Nygård’s motion to subpoena from Google the IP address of a blogger who’d made unflattering remarks about Nygård on a Bahaman Web site, shesomajor.com, hosted by Google, following a Nov. 11 fire that nearly destroyed Nygård Cay, the mogul’s 22-bedroom manse in the Bahamas.

The actions date back to last March and revolve around efforts to stop the CBC program “The Fifth Estate” from researching and airing a piece about the flamboyant designer. While the CBC declined to comment on pending litigation, the Winnipeg Free Press identified two of the three former employees accused of disclosing confidential information as Patrick Prowse, former director of human resources, and Dana Neal, former recruitment and retention manager. After the as-yet-unidentified blogger expressed anticipation that the CBC segment would “expose [Nygård] for what he really is,” a Nygård spokeswoman said the firm believes “that the blogger who made the negative comments may be involved with the CBC and the other defendants referred to in the Manitoba actions.”

A statement from Nygård on the various actions read, “Our company has had to defend and protect its good reputation, its thousands of employees worldwide and its trademark and copyright at all costs.”

As for Nygård’s other headache, the fire at Nygård Cay, that was ruled accidental and stemmed from an electrical short which caused “millions and millions” of dollars worth of damage, according to Bahamas police press liaison officer Sergeant Chrislynn Skippings. A Nygård spokeswoman said she was unable to answer questions on whether the property would be expanded for commercial purposes, as had recently been discussed, or whether it was insured.

— Matthew Lynch and Rosemary Feitelberg



CUTS CHEZ LAGERFELD: Karl Lagerfeld’s director of global marketing and public relations Beth Shapiro is leaving the company and all does not seem well. In the so-long/I’m-moving-on e-mail she sent to press on Jan. 11, Shapiro didn’t mince words when it came to the reason behind her departure. (“Unfortunately,” her e-mail began, “the current environment has forced us to downsize.”)

And it turns out Shapiro’s exit is part of a larger scaling-back at the Tommy Hilfiger-owned Karl Lagerfeld business, which has eliminated four positions in its Amsterdam office and two marketing-p.r. positions (including Shapiro’s) in New York, according to an e-mail from the company. In addition, the more casual K Karl Lagerfeld line of denim and sportswear will be discontinued with this spring’s men’s and women’s collections.

Regarding the layoffs, the company said “this downsize has been done to achieve greater efficiency in our operations” and that, moving forward, it will focus on “continued growth for the various KL businesses,” which now include Karl Lagerfeld Collection (women’s wear), Lagerfeld (men’s wear), Karl Lagerfeld Parfums and Karl Lagerfeld Eyewear.

— Nick Axelrod

 

Correction: Quohnos Mitchell, vice president of global marketing and communications at Karl Lagerfeld, remains head of the company’s New York office and will absorb responsibility for the domestic press.