Massimo Piombo has been sentenced to a suspended prison term of three months and a fine of 15,000 euro (roughly $17,100) for stealing samples from a Lyon textile archive belonging to Hermès. The Italian fashion designer, whose brand the New York Times recently referred to as “a fixation of fashion editors, if not a household name,” initially drew legal attention in February 2014 after he was invited to the textile factory, where the famed Paris-based house stores an archive that is used as a source of inspiration for its designers.
"Suspicious behavior" alerted the Hermès archive staff to the theft and they contacted authorities upon Piombo’s departure. He was subsequently apprehended by police at the airport in Lyon, France before leaving the country and was found with eight tissue samples hidden in his socks and jacket pocket.
Piombo, whom a Vogue columnist described as “one of the more beloved characters in contemporary expressive Milan menswear and the roster of big-hitting buyers who trailed into this work-in-progress space was testament to that,” appealed a 2014 ruling requiring him to serve jail time and pay 10,000 euro (roughly $11,400).
Most recently, the 4th Criminal Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Lyon ordered Piombo to pay 10,000 euro plus an extra 5,000 euro in damages to Hermès. He will avoid jail time despite his three-month sentence. As you may know (from the lengthy Dolce and Gabbana tax evasion case), most criminals in Italy are not required to serve prison terms if they are for less than two years.