Stuart Weitzman executive sues Tapestry over sexual harassment claims

A senior Stuart Weitzman employee has filed a lawsuit against Tapestry, Inc and one of its former creative directors over sexual harassment allegations.Last week (ends27May18), bosses at shoe brand Weitzman, owned by parent company Tapestry, announced …

A senior Stuart Weitzman employee has filed a lawsuit against Tapestry, Inc and one of its former creative directors over sexual harassment allegations.

Last week (ends27May18), bosses at shoe brand Weitzman, owned by parent company Tapestry, announced that Giovanni Morelli had parted ways, citing issues with his behaviour in the workplace.

Now, details of how Morelli apparently “fell short” of standards have emerged, with Weitzman’s vice president of product development footwear, Thomas Gibb, alleging in documents filed in a Manhattan state court that the designer had repeatedly harassed him.

In the complaint, Gibb stated that he had endured “unwanted touchings” and an “endless” stream of sexually explicit comments from Morelli.

The harassment allegedly included “sexually charged conversation and innuendo into the workplace, making those around him, including Mr. Gibb, extremely uncomfortable”.

Further, Gibb claimed that during a design team meeting in Spain, Morelli constantly touched his body and legs, drew “vulgar and obscene drawings” on a whiteboard in his office and also asked him whether he would “ever consider not being straight?”

The court documents also stated that Gibb had complained about Morelli’s behaviour to Weitzman’s human resources department but his “complaints were ignored entirely”. He is seeking an unspecified amount of damages, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

Morelli has not yet commented on the lawsuit. However, a Tapestry representative told The Hollywood Reporter: “While we historically have not commented on pending litigation, we can confirm that the Wigdor firm, representing Mr. Gibb, wrote to our General Counsel on May 15, 2018. On that date, the Company commenced an investigation which ultimately resulted in the announcement on May 21, 2018, regarding the resignation of Giovanni Morelli.”

Morelli joined Weitzman as creative director in May 2017 and presented his first two collections in February.

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Stuart Weitzman part ways with creative director Giovanni Morelli

Stuart Weitzman have announced the departure of creative director Giovanni Morelli.The designer previously worked with brands including Loewe, Prada and Burberry before succeeding Weitzman as head of his namesake brand last May (17). However, the luxur…

Stuart Weitzman have announced the departure of creative director Giovanni Morelli.

The designer previously worked with brands including Loewe, Prada and Burberry before succeeding Weitzman as head of his namesake brand last May (17). However, the luxury shoe brand has decided to part ways with Morelli, citing issues with his behaviour in the workplace.

“While we greatly admire Giovanni’s creative talents, Tapestry (house of modern lifestyle including Stuart Weitzman) is committed to an environment where every individual feels respected and at times his behaviour fell short of these standards,” Tapestry chief executive officer Victor Luis said in a statement. “Looking ahead, we have the utmost confidence in the talented Stuart Weitzman design team under the direction of CEO and brand president Eraldo Poletto, who has a proven track record of developing iconic brands and successfully building global teams.”

Morelli presented his first and only collection during New York Fashion Week in February (18), which showcased his revamped, trendier approach to footwear.

“The strategy of the brand is to give a more cohesive point of view, but also to create wardrobe essentials,” he explained to WWD before his collection hit the catwalk. “I would really like to have, in-store, pumps with different heel heights — just like with jeans how you want slim fit and regular fit offered in the store. This sense of offering is a bit American, which I like.”

Weitzman, who founded his eponymous label over 30 years ago, reportedly pledged to gradually phase himself out of the running of the company after it was acquired by Coach Inc. (now Tapestry) in January 2015.

A number of high profile campaigns followed, with Gisele Bundchen starring in the label’s first ever commercial in August 2015, with the brand since going on to work with top models including Gigi Hadid, Lily Aldridge and Joan Smalls.

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