The late Pierre Cardin has heirs fighting over his estate

Pierre Cardin

One side wants to keep control of the Cardin group, while the other is hoping to sell the company for potentially millions of dollars

Succession may be done playing out on our screens, but it’s certainly not done playing out in real life, at least when it comes to the family of Pierre Cardin.

The French fashion designer, who died in 2020, failed to outline what would happen to his company once he passed away, and now 22 of his family members are fighting for control, The New York Times reported on Monday. The battle is currently playing out in court, and includes charges of elder abuse, forgery, theft, and more.

“It’s sad that such a storied house come to this,” Louis Cardin-Edwards, a great-nephew of Cardin, told the Times. “So inelegant.”

In one corner is Rodrigo Basilicati-Cardin, the grandson of one of Cardin’s older brothers. He worked for Cardin for more than 20 years, and he’s currently the general manager of the holding company Pierre Cardin Evolution and the artistic director of the Pierre Cardin brand. Basilicati-Cardin claims that he’s the rightful heir, and he wants to keep the company and remain on as its head of business. Both Basilicati-Cardin’s brother and sister support him on this.

On the other side are 19 cousins from among the Cardin family tree who want to sell the company. Four of them have sued Basilicati-Cardin for various crimes, which he has denied. The Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation earlier this year, The New York Times noted.

At the heart of that matter is a will that Basilicati-Cardin says he found after Cardin’s death, in which it is outlined that Basilicati-Cardin should be the sole heir. While the will is dated and initialed, it’s unsigned and was never registered with the French authorities. The four sisters who are suing say that makes it invalid, and a judge agreed in March. However, Basilicati-Cardin has appealed that decision, and a Paris court of appeals is expected to hand down a ruling by the end of the year.

“There are two possibilities of resolution,” Jean-Louis Rivière, the sisters’ lawyer, told the Times. “The Basilicati-Cardin will is canceled and my clients and their cousins are legitimized as heirs, or it is confirmed and he gets control of everything.”

Whether the company ends up being sold (Rivière said big companies have been lining up to buy the Cardin group, and last year one offered 800 million euros) remains in the balance. As does any semblance of peace within the Cardin family.

This story was first published on Robb Report USA