The Canadian model alleges she was left looking like ‘the Wicked Witch of the West’ after losing an eye during the procedure
A judge in New York has ruled that Linda Evangelista cannot sue her former boyfriend Francois-Henri Pinault over an eye-gouging incident that she alleges was part of the cosmetic surgery he says he had performed on her.
Pinault, the owner of fashion houses Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, argued that Evangelista’s claims that he hid an “illegal device” while performing a £35,000 face-lift to her face were defamatory and that she had submitted exaggerated, contrived and fabricated information to try to profit from her story. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to have the lawsuit thrown out.
But before the ruling Evangelista had made a second attempt to clear the air, where she accused Pinault, an heir to the Pinault textile fortune, of being one of three people in the room during a 2005 procedure in which “I lost my eye”.
Linda Evangelista … her eye has been replaced. Photograph: Dennis Van Tine/EPA
The complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court by her attorneys Yves Garcia and Beth Marceau, alleges the device at the centre of Evangelista’s lawsuit was known as “CoolSculpting” and that she suffered “significant post-operative bleeding, severe pain and pain in her face and neck, a greatly diminished physical appearance, and pain that has continued to this day, nearly a decade later.”
Pinault has denied that he removed a surgery-inducing eye to disguise the device or that he placed it in her face during any procedure. Evangelista’s lawyers insist “he injected her with ‘facelift toxins’ and a cosmetic-enhancing silicone-gel implant”.
It adds: “He also inserted a bogus pacemaker into her left ear and then left a device on her chest in place. Without telling her – or not even attempting to – she was left without an eye. All of this was intentional and manipulative.”
A spokeswoman for Pinault said: “We have repeatedly denied all of these allegations and we will continue to do so.”
Pinault says he performed breast augmentation surgery on Evangelista and carried out a total of nine procedures to correct a benign crease around the shape of her collarbone which created a puffy look. Evangelista claims she initially tried to get rid of the puffy appearance, but then felt that, because of the surgery, her face had a “craggy appearance” and she could not remove the wrinkles, leading to an increase in pain and suffering.
Evangelista and Pinault began dating in 2006, when she filed for divorce from her then-husband and fellow model, actor and director Francois-Henri Pinault. Pinault is the son of media mogul Jacques-Henri Pinault, his father and one of France’s richest men, who founded PPR, the $17bn (£11.2bn) holding company that owns Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen.