HL Group co-founder Lynn Tesoro has slapped Jennifer Eymere, editor of French magazine Jalouse, with a $1 million lawsuit after Eymere allegedly smacked Tesoro in the face at a New York Fashion Week runway show over the weekend.
In the suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Tesoro is claiming “assault, battery, emotional distress, slander and/or libel.”
The incident took place moments before designer and HL Group client Zac Posen's presentation. FDNY fire marshals had taken out about 60 seats from coveted spots at Avery Fisher Hall due to overcrowding.
As Tesoro and HL Group staffers reportedly scrambled to find seats for Eymere, her mother Marie-José Susskind-Jalou, president of the Jalou publishing house, and her sister Vanessa Bellugeon, stylist at L'Officiel Paris, witnesses said Susskind-Jalou grew impatient. Tempers reportedly flared and the trio exchanged heated words with the PR veteran, which led to the eventual slap.
Witnesses believe it was Susskind-Jalou who slapped Tesoro, but her daughter took full credit for the hit.
In an interview with Women's Wear Daily, Eymere insisted Tesoro had been inappropriate to her mother. The French editor said she warned Tesoro not to “speak to my mom like this.”
Eymere told WWD, “It was a small slap. It was not strong. I didn't hurt her; it was just to humiliate her. She humiliated my mom, and I humiliated her in front of her crew. Voilà. I just said at the end, ‘Now you know you don't f--k with French people.'”
Designer Posen or his camp has yet to comment on the incident.
While last-minute seat removal can be a nightmare for any firm that has spent weeks coordinating the arrangement, a seat loss is not enough to warrant an escalation to the point of a slap – no matter how small. And it unfortunately perpetuates the stereotype of fashion industry professionals filled with a sense of entitlement.